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5 Unexpected Travel Products to Have on Your Radar

travel accessories

Since the dawn of this year I feel like I’ve been on a plane or Amtrak every other week (likely because I have!). Here are some unexpected delights that I recently discovered that are now in my permanent travel kit.

Stone Town Cafe Bed & Breakfast

Despite Zanzibar being a last minute destination we did a good amount of research on places to stay and Stone Town Cafe Bed and Breakfast was a clear favorite for affordable, safe, with a friendly staff and clean rooms.

It definitely delivered. An amazing deal for $80/night which gave us a queen (or is it a king?) bed, balcony, wi-fi (that’s a bit spotty), safe, closet and satellite TV (which has maybe 3 channels in English) and a great shower/bathroom so we were happy. They also offered complimentary breakfast up to $6.50 per person which is more then enough for a big meal including coffee, and bottled water or juice. It’s probably the best deal in the area but space is very limited.








The Doors of Zanzibar, Tanzania

After a grueling flight (that included an emergency landing) we made it to Zanzibar in Tanzania. The start of our trip was in Stone Town which is a historic beach town. Walking the streets we encountered some of the most beautiful doors — all with different colors, styles and carvings!











Day 3 Uganda: The Wedding (and the Outfit)

20140104-221958.jpgDay 3 in Uganda brought us to the point of this trip, a traditional wedding! James and I got to wear classic Ugandan ceremonial garments. His a long, white robe. Mine a yellow kimono like dress with large protruding shoulder pads. It was pretty amazing!

Out of Africa

Greetings from Africa! I’ll be in Uganda for the next two weeks, exploring the countryside and dancing with elephants (if all goes to plan). If you’re interested in following my adventures check out my instagram page @prettyconnected, where I will be regularly updating.

Travel Smart with T.J.Maxx and Marshalls

As a Bostonian I grew up on T.J.Maxx and Marshalls (they too are Boston-born) and the funny part about being in New York is now, I rarely go to the ones in the city. However, whenever I’m home visiting the family I somehow inevitably end up at one or the other. Mainly, because my local T.J.Maxx is located in Fresh Pond, right next to Whole Foods. While my mom shops groceries, I’m next door walking the TJMaxx aisles…

{Inside Marshalls – Summer beach essentials for kids and adults}

It’s amazing how much retailer has changed in the past decade — for starters they now have an extensive designer section; I’ve seen everything from Prada, Ferregamo and YSL bags to Alice and Olivia, J Brand, Marc Jacobs and Missioni clothes. (I’ve even seen Chanel.)

{I spy YSL bag at Marshalls NYC}

So last week T.J.Maxx and Marshalls hosted a Summer Travel event to take my fellow writers and I on a tour of their NYC locations (which are right on top of each other on 23rd and 6th Ave). The lovely style experts and TJMaxx/Marshalls spokeswomen, Lilliana Vazquez and Pamela Pekerman walked us through retailers, pointing out some great summer style and travel essentials for the whole family (including your pets!). Oh the treasures we found! First off with Mother’s Day around the corner, you may want to pop your head in considering they have a vast assortment of giftable items and a jewelry section (at roughly 60% off retail).

{Shopping gifts at T.J.Maxx with Lilliana Vazquez — how cute are those color-blocking shoes?}

{Shopping Marshalls with Pamela Pekerman – again, I’m all about the shoes!}

{Pet-friendly travel packs and gifts!}

{Pretty in pink — I spy a really hot Ralph Lauren bag!}

We played a little Price is Right — and I won an amazing new yellow Abro bag (I guessed correctly it was priced at $129.99 — original retail was $230), while the lovely Amanda (from FashionIndie.com) won a set of Skullcandy UPROC headphones.

{Amanda and I holding up our big Marshalls wins!}

I for one, am about to embark on some MAJOR travels — that’s right, on Saturday I depart for Beirut and Italy! Two places I’ve never been and took my lovely hosts advice and took the opportunity to do a little shopping.

First off, I needed new luggage. My requirements were a durable, carry-on friendly suitcase that had 360 wheel spin and was colorful! While I’m not big on logos, I am big on Diane von Furstenberg and scored a bright orange DVF carry-on with a 10 year warranty! Best part, I got it for $69.99 ( it originally retails for $300!!).

Next, I needed a good over the shoulder medium-size purse that I could beat up without feeling guilty about and has a compartment for my passport. Victoire! I found this white Steve Madden bag for $39.99 (compare at $88).

My bags are packed, I’m ready to go!

Bon Voyage!

Disclaimer: PC won the Abro bag, and received a $50 gift card as part of the gift bag — the remaining balance of DVF suitcase and Steve Madden bag was paid for by PC.