Lucas’ First Father’s Day (Part 2)

For as long as I can remember my husband, Lucas, and I have been obsessed with lobsters. When he first started learning English he told me lobster was his favorite word. He did not know why, it just was. Then we discovered that lobsters mate for life and it became our pet name for each other and instead of saying “I love you” we say “I lobster you”. About a month before Father’s Day, we found matching Polo lobster outfits for Lucas and our son, whom we now call our little lobster. We knew the outfits would be perfect for the Father’s Day photo shoot that we wanted to do. I do not think my two lobsters could be more handsome!

The Ledesma Family

The Ledesma Family

The Ledesma Family

The Ledesma Family

The Ledesma Family

The Ledesma Family

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The Ledesma Family

The Ledesma Family

The Ledesma Family

The Ledesma Family

The Ledesma Family

The Ledesma Family

The Ledesma Family

The Ledesma Family

The Ledesma Family

The Ledesma Family

The Ledesma Family

The Ledesma Family

Which is your favorite photo?

What To Pack On Your Trip To Dubai

So, you are jetting off to Dubai, lucky you! Many people have certain misgivings about travelling to Dubai. Whether it is wondering if it is okay to hold hands with a loved one (should not be a problem, FYI) or worrying about being able to enjoy a glass of wine with your dinner (in alcohol serving places it is fine); there are many myths circulating about what you can and cannot do in Dubai. The most concerning notion about your upcoming trip may be what to wear when you get there. Whilst Dubai is generally the most tolerant of all seven Emirates, there are still some general and easy to follow rules that you should abide by if you want to dress appropriately and respectfully during your trip.

Fashion

Malls and Public Buildings

There are many amazing spots to visit when going sightseeing in Dubai. There are great zoos, landmarks, and hotels that should be on your tick list of places to see. And whether you are interested in shopping or not, the malls are not to be missed. Dubai has some of the world’s biggest malls, complete with aquariums, fountains, and even indoor ski slopes to be found inside and so are a must-see for many tourists.

When visiting malls, as well as many other public buildings, there will be a courtesy policy sign at the entrances letting you know what is considered to be respectful behaviour when inside. These signs will generally all say the same thing: wear clothing that covers shoulders and knees, no overt displays of affection, no smoking, and no pets. Other than the pets and smoking (most places allow smoking indoors), the rules on clothing and public displays of affection are generally a good rule to follow when out in public in Dubai.

If you would like to wear something that is cool in the outside heat, but enough to cover up inside, we would recommend wearing a maxi dress with a pashmina to cover your shoulders. Not only is it considered respectful to cover your shoulders, however the air conditioning inside malls and public places in Dubai is often strong and can become very chilly, meaning a pashmina is a great lightweight cover up. Men should wear a lightweight shirt and full length trousers or ¾ cut offs.

Souks and Traditional Areas

If you are keen to explore the old side of Dubai such as the gold and spice souks near to the creek in Deira and Bur Dubai, then bear in mind that these areas have high South Asian populations and so women who are not appropriately dressed can attract stares in these areas. Dress conservativel, and you will be free to roam the beautiful and deeply cultural side of Dubai to your hearts extent.

Beaches

Do not worry, definitely pack a bikini. Whilst sunbathing topless is illegal, wearing a bikini top and bottom definitely is not, as long as you stick to the areas that this sort of clothing is expected. If you are on the beach, do not wander off around the surrounding areas without first getting dressed. There are running tracks around the public beaches, which can act as a general guide as to the areas that swimwear is appropriate. The same goes for hotel pools or outdoor areas. Around the pool, bikinis, one-piece, or shorts for men are absolutely fine, just remember that fellow guests may also be from more conservative Gulf regions and so bring a beach cover up dress or top and shorts to walk from the pool/beach to hotel room.

Bars/Restaurants

Do not be afraid to dress up in Dubai! This is, after all, considered to be a glitzy place and your glad rags will definitely need to be packed if you plan on frequenting an upscale bar or restaurant. For women, shorter dresses and lower cut necklines such as those on sale here are okay, the dress code is much more relaxed. Dress to impress and generally an above knee dress and some high heeled sandals will be appropriate more or less everywhere you go. For men, full length trousers are required in more upscale venues. As well as this, men should wear closed toe shoes in bars and restaurants, depending on their how upmarket they are.

Much of the bars and clubs that sell alcohol are located within hotels, as only hotels can hold a liquor license. Remember this before you don a revealing dress that will be fine inside the club, but maybe not so much for walking through the hotel to get there.

Mosques

Not many mosques in Dubai permit non-Muslim entry, although if you find one that does or you are planning a visit into Abu Dhabi to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, then you should prepare your visit accordingly and dress appropriately, or it is more than likely you will not be permitted entry.

Women should wear modest, conservative, and loose fitting clothing with long sleeves and full length skirts or trousers. Basically, cover up from the neck down. Headscarves (shayla) and traditional robes (abaya) will be provided for women, and is also a great way to further experience the deep cultural significance of the beautiful Grand Mosque. Men should wear full length trousers, as shorts are not allowed. All visitors should expect to remove their shoes before entering the mosque and therefore we would recommend wearing a pair of slip-offs.

Desert Safari

It is generally okay to dress as you please (within reason) for these desert safari experiences. Women can wear shorts and a vest top, as it is practical since you will probably be riding a camel somewhere along the way or be sitting cross legged on the floor. There will not be any Emiratis here and so shoulder and knees exposed should be okay. If you are concerned about this, you could always ask in the hotel lobby before booking or just wear some ¾ pants and a bring along a pashmina just in case. For men a t-shirt and shorts should be absolutely fine.

And that is it! The rules are not difficult to follow and as long as you are prepared, your trip should be fuss free. We would always recommend women to pack a pashmina; it is the handiest way to cover up at a moment’s notice. Men are generally free to wear what they please within reason. Enjoy, and do not forget to pack your sunscreen, as it sure gets hot out there.

Lucas’ First Father’s Day (Part 1)

While I was not as emotional as I was on my first Mother’s Day, my husband’s first Father’s Day still felt incredibly special. I had to work in the morning, but when I returned home to help Joaquín spoil his Dad, I found the two of them playing in the nursery. I knew I wanted to do a more formal photo shoot later in the day, but I thought I would simply capture some real, in the moment shots as well. Watching Lucas with our son has to be one of the best feelings I have ever experienced. My heart sometimes skips a beat from the pure joy of it all! Having a child puts a huge strain on one’s marriage. A lot of people tend to not talk about it, though I wish they would. Having said that, when Lucas and I are having a bad day or moment, all we have to do is focus on our precious boy and this miracle that we have created together, and our problems then seem irrelevant. My husband was the first to hold Joaquín and I know that solidified a bond between the two of them that is unbreakable.

The Ledesma Family

The Ledesma Family

The Ledesma Family

The Ledesma Family

The Ledesma Family

The Ledesma Family

The Ledesma Family

The Ledesma Family

The Ledesma Family

The Ledesma Family

The Ledesma Family

One of the presents that I gave to Lucas on our son’s behalf was new luggage for our first family trip (whenever that shall be). His favorite fútbol team is Boca Juniors and I just happened to stumble across this luggage in their colors. Plus, the name of the luggage company is Lucas — how perfect is that? Of course, I had to wheel Joaquín out in it when I revealed it to my husband!

The Ledesma Family

The Ledesma Family

I also gave him a gift certificate for a 90 minute massage and a sterling silver keychain with the coordinates of Joaquín’s birthplace. I know I spoiled him, but he definitely deserved it. . .

How To Find The Perfect Travel Companion

There are so many people in the world that love to travel, see new places, and experience new things; unfortunately, a lot of people end up staying home because they have no one to travel with and are afraid to travel alone. That is a sad thing if a person has the money and time to travel, but no one to do it with. If this is you, don’t give up just yet; there are ways you can be creative and find someone you can meet up with and travel with. There are thousands of people just like you and the trick is getting you together with others so none of you have to travel alone. Here are some suggestions on how to find a travel friend:

Join a Travel Club

There are organized travel clubs online and in your area most likely. These are groups of people who communicate and then organize trips based on common interests. They are much less risky than meeting strangers to travel with and it is often done in large groups so you are sure to find someone that you get along with well.

Sign up For an Organized Group Tour

Individuals or travel agencies may offer to take you on one of their trips with them if the trip is open to everyone or they have a pre-booked amount of slots with a group and there is a vacancy. These kinds of trips take place all the time and you can often find them by doing a simple internet search. Often times you can search things such as “Group Tour to Germany” if that is where you want to go and it may lead you to a group that is going to the very place you want to see.

Advertise

There is nothing that says you cannot be your own travel manager and organize your own trip and look for people to go with you; people do it all the time. You can advertise on places such as Craig’s List or do a post on Facebook that you are putting on a trip to a certain destination and are looking for people to join you.

Network

You can put the word out to family, friends, coworkers, or others that you are interested to travel to a certain destination and you are looking for someone to join you. You never know when someone like a long lost cousin or your coworker’s family member has wanted to go to the same place for a long time, but had nobody to travel with.

The most important thing is to be creative, however you have to be safe and smart about it too. Do not meet up with anyone unless you have chatted on a site such as Skype several times or unless you are going as a group. Be persistent and you are sure to find someone else who wants to travel, but has no one to do it with. Once you take that trip, you will be glad you did and you just might end up making a friend and having someone who will go with you on the next trip too!

Review: Wanderlust Leather

I am always on the lookout for travel-themed products and when Wanderlust Leather reached out to me to review her travel-themed leather goods it seemed like a perfect fit! Wanderlust Leather is an Etsy shop created by a travel obsessed woman named Jaime. She turned her passion for travel into a business, which is something I greatly admire. Jaime specializes in personalized handcrafted leather luggage and carryon luggage tags, as well as backpack key chains. Let me tel you that the leather she sent me is some of the best I have ever felt.

Wanderlust Leather

Her Etsy bio reads: Traveling and crafts are passions of mine, (second and third of course to my first, which is being a mother and wife). That was the easy part, what wasn’t easy was finding a way to combine the two things I love doing. I have made various things throughout the years. Then I realized that I was just following Michigan’s four seasons and as the season would pass so would my interest in that craft. Fall and winter = scarves, Spring= Easter baskets, Summer= hand stamped jewelry. Then one day I stopped it all and spent some time trying to figure out something that would be timeless and would combine what I actually love to do. Then it hit me, since it’s not possible for me to travel 100% of the time, I will make something that can…LUGGAGE TAGS!!! I am so excited about the end product and hope you all are as well. Each tag truly has the best of my ability etched into it. I wanted to make them look worn and traveled.

Wanderlust Leather

I truly adore all of the stuff that is offered by Wanderlust Leather. My favorite travel quotes can be found on all of her luggage tags. I have always been a big supporter in luggage tags, because 1) they turn plain luggage into stylish luggage and 2) they set your luggage apart from the rest making it easily identifiable.

Wanderlust Leather

I think once Joaquín starts traveling I will have Jaime create a personalized luggage tag for his first piece of luggage!