10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Travel

 

Truly understanding and appreciating a new culture can take months or even years. When traveling, most of us don’t have that luxury. Those for whom a few days to a week is about the best that can be hoped for have to figure out how to get the most out of limited time. A checklist of museums and attractions is a common instinct, but it won’t give you the deep connection that makes travel rewarding. After years of planning events around the world I have learned that taking a few simple steps allows travelers to better connect to new places, make amazing memories, truly feel at home in a strange land, and always have the best travel stories to tell.


Beijing1. LEARN THE LANGUAGE
. I know that this is obvious, and the obvious response is that it’s difficult and time-consuming. But you don’t have to be fluent to get the benefits of putting in a little effort, and it will make you much more comfortable. Learn the most important phrases: “Hello,” “Where is the bathroom?” and the most important in any language: “Thank you.”  I also like to learn to ask for the check and how to say the equivalent of “Cheers!” every place I go. Ask a native speaker to check your pronunciation; with those basics you may even convince passerby you are a local. And on that note…

2. DRESS THE PART. The more different you look the more different and isolated you will feel. People in obvious Paying respects to Shakespeare in Budapesttourist garb always look so awkward, and are easy targets for scams. Do some quick research – Pinterest is a fabulous resource – on what the locals wear and pack your suitcase accordingly. Are they more casual or more dressy than you are used to? Are they having fun with colors and prints or are they in muted earth tones? Do they all have scarves or head coverings? Most importantly check out the shoes, because they will tell you what the most fashionable and practical choices are. Are most of the women wearing cute ballet flats? Low heeled boots? Wedges? They probably know that it’s the best way to be comfortable in the lifestyle and climate and look fashionable at the same time. Nobody in New York City is wearing white or super high heels; follow their lead because they know something you don’t. Dress like a local and you may even find other tourists asking you for directions.

Love In the Time of Cholera at the home of the author in Cartagena, Colombia3. READ LOCAL LITERATURE. You may not be able to pick up the language in a week, but pick up a translated novel that takes place in the city or region you will be exploring and start it before you leave, giving your mind a head start on adapting. In Paris read Émile Zola, J. M. Coetzee in South Africa,  Haruki Murakami in Tokyo, Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar in Istanbul, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez in Colombia. Walking the streets of Cartagena reading Love in the Time of Cholera imagining Florentino Ariza spying on his beloved Fermina Daza from his park bench gave me a stronger connection to the city, as if we shared a secret. And during the afternoons when it was too hot to do anything but lay by the hotel pool, my mind was still exploring as I turned the pages.

4. CATCH A LIVE PERFORMANCE or festival, outside of the tourist zone. While I’m sure the hotel’s dinner buffet hula dance extravaganza is lovely (and you should learn the history of the hula in Hawaii), find out where the locals go for a good show. One of my favorite traditions is finding a great jazz club no matter where we are, from Shanghai to Krakow. Sitting in a small club, surrounded by locals and visitors from around the world with a shared love for jazz, introducing ourselves to the band members (from Poland, playing New Orleans jazz, in Istanbul) after the set and drinking with them and their friends until 4am is still one of my favorite memories. In New York or London, skip the long-running big spectacle shows that everyone has seen, and pick instead an avante garde performance. Go downtown to see an Off-Off-Broadway play. You are much more likely to be surrounded by locals and to feel as if you are one.

Krakow, Poland5. HANG OUT IN A CENTRAL SQUARE. There are the classics like Washington Square Park in New York and Trafalgar Square in London, but try hanging out in Krakow’s Rynek Glowny and Prague’s Old Town Square too. Learn the history. See the commerce. Listen to the conversations and the protesters. Take pictures, but also eat the street food, tip the musicians, feed the birds and read your book on a park bench. Don’t rush on to the next attraction; just sit, rest your feet, take it all in and fall in love with your surroundings.

6. And while you’re at it? TALK TO PEOPLE. As always in a big city anywhere in the world be cautious and streetwise, but often the locals are as genuinely curious about you as you are about them. Ask them questions. If they’re interested, buy them a pint and get their life story. Some of my favorite travel stories are just repeating someone else’s. In a tiny restaurant in a hillside German town we ended up spending hours with a chef from Ibiza, his Russian winemaker friend, an American GI (who was initially just looking for an ATM), and a dog named Snob, all of whom remain seared into my memory years later. It all started because we asked questions.

7. JOIN A TOUR LED BY AN EXPERT DOCENT. There are plenty of big group options that teach you less than a common guidebook, but with a little research you can find engaging, unique, and highly intellectual tours. A 6am bicycle tour through Montmarte, while the shops are just opening up and the empty wine bottles still litter the streets of Paris, will give you a unique perspective of the city. An artist-led graffiti tour of Bogota will teach you more about the culture, politics, and history of Colombia than any other. A historian who has hiked the entire length of the Great Wall of China can point out things nobody else would notice.

Early morning bike tour through Paris
We were guided around London a few weeks ago by a docent from Context Travel, a network of scholars and specialist in disciplines including archaeology, art history, cuisine, urban planning, environmental science, and classics who lead in-depth walking seminars for small groups (6 or less). With her we not only got a personalized tour helping us to understand the city’s history and major landmarks, we discussed the upcoming election, the conflicted feelings on currency and immigration, and the true purpose of Her Majesty the Queen, and were surprised with a visit to what once was The Texas Legation in London. The company’s website makes it easy to pick a city (they currently operate in 25), pick an interest, and reserve a guide. It is well worth it.

8. FOLLOW CURRENT EVENTS. Watch or read their news (BBC World is a great resource when traveling). Even if you can’t IMG_7971take a tour, do a little online digging to understand the struggles of the people. What are they concerned about? What have they been through? No matter how pretty and peaceful a place can seem, there is always a group of people who are unhappy. Understand them and you come closer to understanding the whole culture. If you are in a place where your country’s policies are not appreciated, find out why and try to see yourself and your politicians from their perspective. People around the world want to be heard; offer them an ear.

9. MEET UP WITH A FRIEND. If you know someone who lives there, even if only casually or from years ago, reach out and ask them to meet up. If you don’t know somebody, chances are there’s a friend of a friend somewhere. Maybe a coworker once studied abroad and maintained some connections. In this global village, you can find people with similar interests via Twitter or Instagram in advance of your trip and meet up when you get there. You will let down your guard and forget you are in a strange land for an hour or two. Locals anywhere rarely get to experience their own tourist attractions, and usually love to show off their neighborhoods when someone visits. Give them that chance.

Off-Broadway Play in NYC10. Most importantly, BE YOURSELF. What do you like to do at home? If you’re into sports, arrange to see a game while traveling or find out where there’s a pub showing a match. Soccer isn’t my favorite sport, but watching a big match with a rowdy crowd in a European pub is an experience everyone should have at least once. Do you enjoy live music? Hiking? Theater? Exploring new restaurants? People do those things around the world. Find your passions and experience them in a new place, because it will make you feel at ease, it will ignite your spirit, and it will show you how alike we all really are on this planet. And that is the very purpose of travel, isn’t it? That and the stories.

Tea in Beijing

 

 

For more information about CONTEXT TRAVEL: https://www.contexttravel.com

 

Follow my travel adventures on Instagram at @SeeJayneGo

Rocksbox Unlimited Designer Jewelry

What if someone told you that you could have an unlimited supply of designer jewelry for just $19 a month?!  If you’re a fashion jewelry addict like I am then you would say “where do I sign up”?   Here’s the scoop:  Rocksbox is a membership-based jewelry styling service.  Members pay a flat rate of $19/month to get access to a personalized rotating closet of designer jewelry, sent in sets of three at a time.  Do I need to continue?

Rocksbox2First of all, it’s like Christmas and Birthday all rolled up in one when you receive your cute Rocksbox box! Check out the treasures I received in my mailbox yesterday. Kendra Scott Elle Cobalt Cat’s Eye earrings are gorgeous (perfect timing to wear with my new cobalt blue dress), the Perry Street Scarlett necklace is very current and the Sophie Harper Double Bar ring are fit my personal style! Rocksbox partners with established and emerging designers such as Gorjana, Kendra Scott, Loren Hope, Margaret Elizabeth, and many more.  Their jewelry inventory is constantly evolving to reflect the seasons, members’ tastes, and the latest trends.

Here’s How It Works –
Complete your personalized style profile in just 3 minutes and create a wish list.

  • Rocksbox stylists use your profile to personally select designer jewelry just for you from their collection of over 30 designers sets are curated for you based on your style profile.
  • The three chosen pieces are placed in a very snappy, signature Rocksbox box and delivered from their San Francisco headquarter to your doorstep with no shipping charges!
  • You can keep and wear your Rocksbox pieces for as long as you like.
  • You can return your set anytime, as often as you like, and Rocksbox will send you a new set of three jewelry pieces.
  • You pay the same membership fee regardless of how often you exchange your box.
  • If you fall in love with a piece (and you know that’s going to happen) and want to keep it forever, you simply don’t send it back when you return your box. You will be billed at the Insiders’ Price shown on your packing list.JacqueRocksbox

The jewelry seems to be high quality and how great is it that you can change it out as your mood and the seasons change? For someone who gets bored with their jewelry after a few wears, I’m thinking I may be hooked!

Sound easy?  Ready to sign up?  Go to: https://www.rocksbox.com/  For 1 month free Rocksbox, use this special code when you become a member:  jaqueferrisxoxo   Become a Rocksbox Insider today and Rock on!

Disclosure: Rocksbox provided Real Posh Mom with one month of free membership trial.  All opinions are mine and may not reflect those of the company. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” All photos are mine and subject to copyright.

Review: Microsoft Band Smartens Wearable Tech

A couple of months ago I attended the grand opening of the Microsoft store in Dallas. It is the largest one they’ve opened, and so of course the biggest would have to be in Texas. The manager and staff were enthusiastic and very knowledgeable about the many Microsoft products that are now available for you to test drive in-store. While there, the one that caught my attention was the Microsoft Band. They generously gave me one to try and to see how my husband and I would like it. This is Microsoft’s entry into the smart-watch, Fitness band market. It is aptly just called the Band because it turns out that it’s a bit of both.the-bandThe Microsoft Band can connect via Bluetooth with either your Android, or Apple smart phone and displays your texts, tweets, messages, and even the weather. If you happen to have a Microsoft windows phone, you can do even more with it. It’s limited to just display when used with my iPhone, but still convenient when my phone is in my pocket. For me, it serves mostly as a fitness monitor. When used in tandem with the Microsoft Health Cloud app that I down loaded on my phone, there’s quite a bit I can keep track of. It costs $199 and packs an impressive list of sensors. There’s an optical heart rate sensor, accelerometer, gyrometer, GPS, ambient light sensor, skin temperature sensor, UV sensor, capacitive sensor, galvanic skin response sensor, and a microphone. It measures common metrics like steps and heart rate, and calculates some second order metrics like sleep quality and calories burned.Microsoft_Band_LifestyleMonitoring my activity and sleep provide me the best opportunity to fight the effects of the aging process which most of us worry about. Last night, I slept for 6.5 hours and awakened 4 times. This is only an 85% sleep effectiveness rating. I am feeling a little tired today, and tonight, I will be making a conscious effort to get more sleep. With the feedback gained, I can also try different sleeping positions and room temperatures to reach a more optimal rest pattern. These are things that I couldn’t, or wouldn’t think of doing if I didn’t have the great feedback I get from my Band. I have also begun setting goals for how many steps I walk in a day, and I am more likely to take the stairs just because I know I’m monitoring steps.microsoft-bandThe Band is a sleek looking device and I get comments from people all the time about it. It’s comfortable to wear, and over time, I don’t even notice it’s there until I feel the vibration alerting me to a new message. It has taken a little getting used to wearing it with the face on the underside of my wrist, but it is easier to read due to the horizontal display. I wish the battery lasted longer between charging, and I wish I did not have to take it off to charge it. Other than that, I really like everything about it. Personal health tracking is only getting more and more popular, and it seems everyone is getting into the market. With my Band, I have both smart watch and fitness capabilities, and I love it. I have to go walk now, or I won’t reach my 7,000 steps today!

How to Get Loose, Bouncy Waves

BeachwaverS1OscarsEffortless, loose curls and glamorous, retro waves ruled the Red Carpet at the 2015 Oscars. The secret to achieving these coveted looks at home only takes one, easy-to-use tool. Celebrity hairstylist Sarah Potempa shows you how to get-the-look with her new BEACHWAVER S1 rotating curling iron, exclusively on sale at Ulta Stores in the US.

Loose Waves

Naomi Watts stunned on Sunday’s red carpet in a beaded Armani Privé gown. Her blonde, textured lob swept her shoulders and her berry lips added a pop of color.

Here’s how to get her glamorous, loose waves:

  • Step 1: Apply a volumizing product to damp hair.
  • Step 2. Loosely blow dry while twisting pieces away from the face to add texture.
  • Step 3. Then use the BEACHWAVER S1 rotating curling iron to add some waves to your hair — just leave the bottom 2 inches of your hair out of the curling iron when you clamp it around your strands to create bends and added dimension to your hair.
  • Step 4. Spray flexible hairspray all over to give definition in the hair.

beachwavers1

Voluminous, Bouncy Waves

Keira Knightley glowed in her flowing Valentino gown with delicate floral embroidery. She topped off her hair with a dainty headband and added Chanel jewels to complete her look

Here’s how to score her ethereal style:

  • Step 1: Start by using a setting mousse and flip hair to one side and scrunch up with the towel to get the natural wave pattern started.
  • Step 2: Loosely twist hair away from face on both sides and into 3 + buns (based on how tight you want the waves).
  • Step 3: To complete the look once dry, use the BEACHWAVER S1 rotating curling iron to enhance the wave pattern and add a more “polished” look.
  • Step 4: Finish with a lightweight hairspray to keep your style intact day to night.

Lupita Nyong’o: Get Her Oscar’s Look!

Lupita Nyong’o illuminated the Oscars Red Carpet in a white pearl embroidered Calvin Klein dress and naturally soft hairstyle to match. Smooth ‘N Shine Celebrity Hairstylist Larry Sims worked his magic to create tiny, individual ringlets to complement the artistry and technical beadwork of the dress. Here’s how did it!

Look: Diamonds & PearlsLupitaOscar2015

“We went for a classic, more rounded look that played off the pearls and texture of her dress, avoiding asymmetric, angular lines and edges.”

1. Dampen hair with a warm towel to soften the texture

2. Apply Smooth ‘N Shine Smooth Olive & Tea Tree RevivOil Wrap & Set Mousse paired with Smooth ‘N Shine Argan Power 10 Styling Gel to create tiny ringlets with a small rattail comb throughout the whole head, starting at the nape of neck and moving to the front

3. Attached hooded dryer for 30 minutes or until hair is dry

4. Once completely dry, take a large tooth bone comb and lift the ringlets to break up the texture for added volume

5. Liberally spray Smooth ‘N Shine Instant Repair Spray-On Polisher for added shine and smooth out any fly-aways and frizzies

Smooth ‘N Shine products are available at Wal-Mart priced at $2.99 to $4.99. You can look like the gorgeous Lupita without breaking the bank. Throw on a simple white dress, and you are ready for a golden night!

2015 Prom Dresses and Charity Attire

With prom on the minds of students or the hottest event on the charity circuit, the search for that perfect dress has officially begun. Whether you are your daughter are looking for a red carpet-inspired stunner or opting for a simple silhouette, here are some looks for your spotlight moment!

This royal blue dress, worn with shimmery sandals and sparkling jewelry, honors and enhances your hourglass figure.

Trendsetter: Regal Blue

Trendsetter: Regal Blue

Flash a peek of your toned tummy in a bright stunner with a crisscrossed bodice. Sparkly jeweled accessories complete the dreamy ensemble for your glamorous night!

Glamour: Dazzling Hue

Glamour: Dazzling Hue

Emulate Anna Kendrick’s Golden Globe style by hitting a high note in a nude dress embellished with beading. Complementing jewels completed your ensemble.

Belle of the Ball

Belle of the Ball

Flash your bright smile at the event while wearing a ruby red dress.

Sweetheart: Lady in Red

Sweetheart: Lady in Red

Shopping for the upcoming charity formal? David’s is offering $20 off your regular price dress of $100 or more for a limited time from Feb 6 – 16, 2015!

Have a daughter heading to prom? She could win the ultimate Prom Night Makeover by entering the David’s Prom Get Glam Sweepstakes from January 26 – March 22, 2015. Win a visit from professional stylists who will take care of hair and makeup and a beauty basket worth $375 for the winner and three friends, along with a $300 gift card for the winner to purchase her whole prom look at David’s Bridal!

Holiday 2014 Real Posh Gift Guide

‘Tis the season for shopping and giving. We’ve rounded up some of the most-wanted gifts for the holidays! There are so many great things out this year for your family and friends. Here are some great gifts ideas for everyone on your list!RPMFoodGuide2014Top left: Corningware® French White®III 2.5-Qt Oval Casserole W/ Quiet Close Glass Cover
Top middle: ASCASO Dream espresso and coffee machine
Top right: Pyrex® Easy Grab® 3-Qt (9” X 13”) Oblong Baking Dish W/ Red Plastic Lid
Middle left: Anthropologie Limited EditionGolden Monogram Mug
Middle right: Williams-Sonoma Peppermint Bark
Bottom left: Neiman Marcus S’Mores Kit
Bottom middle: KeepCup Brew Limited Edition Cork
Bottom right: Phrase Cheese BoardRPMFashionGuide2014Top left: Dawn Levy Natashia Coat
Top middle: Madewell Genre Stud Set
Top right: Eva Mendes Collection for NY & Co. – Maria Jacquard Dress
Middle left: TopShop Sequin Drawstring Backpack
Middle right: Powder Puff Faux Fur Slippers
Bottom left: 100 Good Deeds Bracelets
Bottom middle: Kate Spade Basket Pave Studs
Bottom right: J. Jill Cable Chenille Pullover Sweater

My World Travel Powered by These Boots #PoweredbyHeels

It’s hard to choose our absolute favorite shoes from fall 2014, but as I was getting ready to move my family across the world, I found the most comfortable, stylish and powerful boots made by Rockport. Let the swooning begin!RockportTotalMotionBootsThese sleek Rockport Total Motion Tall wedge boot features ADIPRENE+® by adidas by adidas technology. I cannot express how comfortable these are, especially as I was running from one terminal to the next. Why must international flights be terminals on the other side of the airport?! Oh, I am sorry to digress. 😉 The stretchy back panel lends incredible flexibility and stability to the versatile style. Do not worry if you calves are too fit or too skinny for boots. These boots are made for every posh lady that I know!RockportPoweredByHeelsRockport wedge boots are the perfect fall shoe since they add height and create a feminine silhouette. If you want to give your wardrobe a subtle kick, wedge boots are your go-to shoe. They will present a polished and professional appearance. I can testify to this, as I had a few women in the United States AND in Europe stop and complement me on my Rockport boots. Talk about feel emPOWERED by heels. 🙂RockportBootsReal Posh Mom was commissioned by Rockport to pick out a pair of their heels and feature my fall 2014 selection. For more on great shoes from Rockport, visit rockport.com.

Trina Turk + Real Posh Mom = 7 Year Anniversary Celebration

RPMTrinaTurkJoin myself, RPM’s newest writer Jayne & the gals at Trina Turk for the Summer Style event next Thursday night at Trina Turk in Highland Park Village! Not only will you enjoy sips & light bites, but you can also get style tips as you get ready for summer & even get a 20% discount on the new Trina Turk summer arrivals + an exclusive Trina Turk iPhone case. Great, right? Also, in celebration for Real Posh Mom’s 7th Anniversary, I will be revealing some new exciting things happening with Real Posh Mom. I hope to see you all Thursday night! XO

Where: Trina Turk in Highland Park Village
When: Next Thursday, March 15, 2014
Time: 5:30PM – 7:30PM (come & go)
RSVP: Dallas@TrinaTurk.com

RPMTrinaTurkEarrings

Pictured: Cynthia of Oh So Cynthia (left) and myself (right)

Accessible Luxury Celebrates Style and Kids in April

Come enjoy Accessible Luxury on Friday, April 11, 201, beginning 7 PM at Park Place Premier Collection Dealership. It is a wonderful night of cars, fashion, food, cosmetics and jewelry all in one place – a fun upbeat event that benefits Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.

Tickets may be purchased here, beginning at $125 for a individual ticket or $1,000 for an exclusive VIP couple ticket which includes priority runway show seating for 2, access to VIP hour, test drive of a Luxury vehicle and a Luxury swag bag.
Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children is a world leader in the treatment of pediatric orthopedic conditions. They strive to improve the care of children worldwide through innovative research and teaching programs, training physicians from around the world. They treat Texas children with orthopedic conditions, such as scoliosis, hand disorders, hip disorders and limb length differences, as well as certain related neurological disorders and learning disorders.

ROLLS ROYCE RUNWAY SHOW
Fashion Show by Harriet Kelly Gibbe
Fashion Show emceed by D Magazine’s Kim Elenez and Fashion Blogger Lauren Scruggs

BENTLEY BUBBLE ROOM
Something for the ladies
Showcasing designer Ray Griffiths
Bubbly | Beauty Room | Front Door Fashion
Lip Impression Reader

MASERATI MAN CAVE
Something for the gentlemen
Hot Cars | Hand-Rolled Cigars
Beretta Apparel & Gear

MCLAREN MOONLIGHT ROOM
Fine cuisine and a hot scene
Raffle & Big Board | Fashion Sketxh Artist
Social Media Photo Booth | Late Night Dance Party

What a great way to enjoy fashion & help the children in our community!