7/13/16

Travel Recap: Utah

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Our trip to Utah for my family reunion was one of the highlights of our summer so far, and I finally got everything together to recap it here and share what I packed and what we did each day. We had a big group of about 75 people most of the time (some people weren't able to attend all the events), and it was an incredibly well-planned (props to my mom and sister for that), organized and action-packed gathering for such a big group. All I personally hoped for out of the trip was some quality time with family members I rarely get to see since we're spread out all over the country, but I ended up enjoying so much more than just the company.

Day One:

What I Wore:
Top: Express | Tank: Target (Maternity for length) | Necklace: Kendra Scott | Leggings: Express | Sandals: Nordstrom | Bag: Amazon | Watch: Fossil (Similar)

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What We Did:
Traveled to Utah, settled in to the hotel, had dinner and visited informally in the hotel lobby until the staff requested we keep it down because they couldn't hear the incoming phone calls. (Oops.)


Day Two Morning + Afternoon:

What I Wore:
Top: Target  | Sports Bra: Target | Jean Shorts: Target (Similar) | Sneakers: Amazon | Necklace: Kendra Scott | Watch: Fossil (Similar)

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What We Did: 
After a quick "get reacquainted" game in a hotel meeting room that my parents reserved for the day, the whole family headed up Big Cottonwood Canyon to hike Donut Falls. The views were stunning and it was a perfect hike for (almost) all ages.
Views from the hike to Donut Falls

I have just two caveats if you go:

1. The parking at the actual trail head was limited. We had some family members who weren't going to do the hike help out with pick up and drop off at the trail head. Otherwise you may have to add an extra half mile walk to/from additional parking.

2. If you want to get to the actual Donut Falls part of the trail, your feet are going to get wet. I didn't make it all the way for that reason but my husband and kids did. We ended up getting cheap replacement shoes for the kids at Target so they could be comfortable the rest of the trip.

When we finished the hike, everyone had lunch on their own and met back up at Mountain View Park/Splash Pad for an afternoon of visiting and playing at the park.


Day Two Evening: 

What I Wore:
Top: Nordstrom Rack | Necklace: Kendra Scott | Bag: Kohls (Similar) | Sandals: Nordstrom | Watch: Fossil (Similar)

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What We Did:
Each family-within-the-family was on their own for dinner, then we met back up at my sister's church building where she had reserved a big space for a Family Dance Party.  I have to tell you, there were some family members who were less than thrilled about this particular activity. ("No way. I don't dance. This will be awkward and terrible.") But my sister hired a local DJ she has used before (Life of the Party), and they did an impressive job of making it fun and non-awkward for everyone. We played all kinds of easy and sometimes silly games to music with hula hoops or beach balls or the limbo stick. Even those who were adamantly opposed to "dancing" were caught smiling and enjoying themselves and maybe even participating in some of the games!


Day Three Morning + Afternoon:

What I Wore:
Jacket: Express (Similar) | Jeans: Express (Similar) | Necklace: Kendra Scott | Bag: Kohls (Similar) | Shoes: New Balance

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What We Did:
First we met at 9 AM sharp at a park for Family Pictures. For a group of about 75 people, we pulled that off in record time and headed up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Snowbird Mountain Resort.
I was very glad I brought my jacket along that day because it was chilly and very windy when we took the tram ride up to the summit at 13,000 feet!

The tram ride was my favorite activity for the incredible views, but there were lots of other fun rides (like the Mountain Coaster shown below) and activities so all ages were entertained. And even though we weren't all as a family in one confined area, the park was still small enough that we saw each other every time we waited in line for a ride or took a break for lunch. I would highly recommend Snowbird for tourists or locals who haven't been yet! It was well worth the short, scenic drive up the canyon and the cost of admission.
Image via Snowbird

Day Three Evening:

What I Wore:
Top: Express | Jeans: Express | Sandals: Nordstrom | Necklace: Kendra Scott | Bag: Kohls (Similar) | Watch: Fossil (Similar) | Bracelets: Express 

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What We Did:
Each family spent as much time as they wanted at Snowbird and then had dinner on their own before meeting back at the hotel conference room for a Family Talent Show. Kind of like the DJ night, there was a bit of reluctance about this activity going into the reunion. But those brave individuals who came prepared for this with everything from vocal performances to choreographed hoverboard routines (which was as awesome as it sounds!) inspired some other family members to share fun impromptu acts and it ended up being a memorable and entertaining night.

Day Four:

What I Wore:
Top: Express | Jeans: Express (Similar) | Sandals: Nordstrom | Necklace: Kendra Scott | Watch: Fossil (Similar) | Bracelets: Express | Bag: Amazon

What We Did:
The Official Reunion activities were Friday and Saturday, so on Sunday we packed up and said good-bye. I made a quick stop for brunch at a local friend's house before flying back home.

Front View of Main Outfits:

Outfit Notes for the Trip:
I planned my packing around a simple black/white/pink color scheme and made sure every top would go with jeans or jean shorts, with my one black jacket, and with both pairs of pink shoes I had. I didn't feel like my outfits were anything special but everything was comfortable and functional, and that was the main point. The only problem for me was that my feet were freezing in the airport and on the airplane each way, so next time I travel by air I will choose different shoes.

Logistical Notes for the Trip:
In real life, when my family reunion comes up in conversation I often get questions about the logistics of getting together with such a big group. It is incredibly challenging to house, feed, and entertain 75+ people ages 0-82!  If you're curious about any of those details, here's what we did:

1. Housing: My parents insisted on paying for the housing to keep travel expenses down for everyone else and encourage attendance. We stayed at the Crystal Inn, and they reserved a meeting room for two days where we could visit and have events like the Talent Show.

2. Meals: Every family-within-the-family was on their own for all meals. The Inn had complimentary breakfast (almost everyone ate breakfast there every day) and a Happy Hour "snack" (e.g. Nacho Bar, Baked Potato Bar). Whether for budget or convenience reasons, some families chose the Happy Hour food for dinner as well.  Otherwise there were plenty of nearby restaurants at all price points for lunch and dinner options. Sometimes my own family of four would go with another sibling's family for a meal, other times we'd just go on our own.

3. Activities: My sister Denae lives in the Salt Lake area and ended up as the unofficial "Chief Activity Planner" for the reunion since as a longtime resident, she knew more than the rest of us! She checked out the hiking trail in advance (making sure it was easy enough for families with very small kids), hired the DJ, checked all the local ski resorts for the best summer activity options, etc. Planning activities is one of my least favorite/most stressful parts of traveling, so it was really nice to just show up and have it all done for us! I keep telling her she needs to become a Family Reunion planner as a side job because she really impressed us all with her planning!

* * *
It's hard to believe that the actual reunion was only two full days because we packed so much into that time! I tried to condense this as much as possible and stick to the main highlights, but it still ended up being a pretty long post. So if you made it this far, thanks for reading! And if you've done a family reunion with some successful events or activities, I'd love to hear about it in the comments because I'll be helping plan another one next summer for my husband's side of the family!



Linking up with:
ErikaAndreaNarci |JoLynne | Katie | Megan | Lindsey | Alison

CONVERSATION

36 comments:

  1. wow so cool that you have such a big family, I guess I do as well but we are scattered all over the place and to be honest we are not all that close. The dance party sound awesome, I would be more nervous about the talent show since I don't think I have any lol. I really love big families, great tradition.

    xo
    PinkSole

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    1. Ha! There was no mandatory sharing at the talent show so no need to be nervous. :) Only those that wanted to do something did so.

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  2. Sounds like a fun packed trip! Your Mom and sister did such a great job with the planning! I skied Snowbird a few years ago and it's such a beautiful area! I really like your packing strategy!

    Jill
    Doused In Pink

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    1. I bet the skiing would be amazing there! I'd love to just hang out at the resort in winter if it weren't such a trek for me!

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  3. This sounds like so much fun! Love everything that you wore :)

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  4. Okay that family dance party sounds like so much fun!! My family doesn't really do reunions, but I love how you all had active things planned. Impressed by the group photo of so many! I always think photos people post in Utah look so gorgeous.

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

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    1. Utah is absolutely gorgeous! And maybe you can take the lead on planning your first family reunion. :)

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  5. Glad you had a great time! Thanks for letting us peek into your packing ideas. I'm smiling because I have a lot of those items, and it gives me good travel ideas. Always looking for a formula that works, since travel clothes have to be versatile (with carry-on restrictions nowadays).

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    1. Oh gosh, I always have too many liquids for carry-on only! But I do try to minimize my suitcase size just so all of our family's luggage can fit into a standard rental car or Uber trunk! :)

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  6. There is so much to comment on here! Firstly, I love that you had a theme to your outfits so that you didn't have to spend time fussing. Pink, black, and white are perfect! Second, I love how you described everything. Most family reunions are kind of boring, but this sounded anything but! I'm glad you had a great time! Utah definitely looks gorgeous. I'd love to visit donut falls :)

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    1. You and Nate definitely need to plan a road trip there!

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  7. I've never had a family reunion like that-it looks like so much fun! Love the simple, yet totally stylish outfits you chose! I can't get over those pink sneakers and now I want those pink sandals too!

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  8. I LOVED reading this. I'm so happy you visited when we had nice weather, but I really enjoy reading when people have fun vacations in my neck of the woods. It's always nice to hear recommendations for things to do in your own home town. Donut Falls is a nice hike and we haven't done that one with our kids yet. I'll have to suggest it to my husband. I'm now wondering if there is a slight chance we crossed paths at the Mountain View Park splash pad. That's one of our regular hangouts. We don't make it up to the resort during the summer--I think our kids are just slightly too young for most of the fun things to do there, but I'm glad you went. I'm so impressed that 75 family members made it! That does take a lot of good organization. Of course, you were stylish the entire time. I love those pink shoes.

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    1. Oh that would be funny if we crossed paths! I looked for you though and didn't see you. :P I do think your kids would find a lot to enjoy at Snowbird even at that age (we had lots in our group that were a similar age), but whether it's worth the time and expense for you as parents is another story! And yes, definitely give Donut Falls a chance! There were SO many moms up there on their own with 2-3 of their own kids in backpacks, holding hands, etc. Very family friendly. :)

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  9. What a great trip recap and I love how you shared your outfit for each day! That mountain coaster looks awesome, my son would love it! I have never been in that area before, but it looks beautiful! I can't believe you had a reunion of 75 people! That is amazing!

    Carrie
    curlycraftymom.com

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    1. Your family would love it Carrie! Your kids are at a great age for all of the activities we did.

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  10. Loving the bright eye catching shoes!

    XoXo,

    Tamara - LoveofMode.com

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  11. Great recap! Utah is soooo beautiful.

    Xx
    Molly
    www.trendychickadee.com

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  12. I'm glad you had a great time and what super ideas for a travel capsule wardrobe!

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  13. Glad you all had such a great time and it looks like you did some awesome things. I am so jealous that you were able wear two different pairs of shoes and wear them so well with every outfit! I have yet to have that ability!

    Denise | Fashion Love Letters

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    1. Ha! Thanks! Shoes take up the most space in my suitcase (except for ones like the Gigi sandals) so I really try to plan around the shoes.

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  14. I cannot even wrap my head around all that people in one family! How awesome though to have a big group! You have as many people in your family as we did at our department meeting last week! That's a LOT of people! Ha!! Is that the same plaid top your family banned? Or am I mistaken? If it is, it's funny how quickly males forget about stuff. I swear the husband hates one thing one minute but loves it the next!!! Anyway-- awesome recap. It looks beautiful!
    Carylee | http://morepiecesofme.com

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    1. It's the same style of top that was shunned, but the print is different. Which makes me think that particular plaid print was more "offensive" than the style of top. :)

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  15. Seventy-five people! That's quite the family trip. Sounds like you had a blast and got more from it than you expected.

    www.dressed2dnines.com

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  16. Wow sounds like a great reunion that takes lots of planning. These type of trips are what great memories.

    Alice
    www.happinessatmidlife.com

    Hope to see you for TBT Fashion link up.

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    1. Yes, it was very fun and memorable!

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  17. What an amazing reunion- I love that your family is so big! :)

    Travel style on point, of course. Love the little pops of pink.

    -Ashley
    Le Stylo Rouge

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  18. i am so jealous of your big family! what a fun time. kudos to your sister and mom for planning such an amazing reunion. i would not really want to participate in things like a dance party or talent show with random people, but if you can't be weird with family, who can you be weird with? i really like all of your outfits, as usual :) it's not very classy, but sometimes when i travel in flip flops i take a pair of socks in my bag, that way i can have warm feet on the plane :)

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  19. This is so much better than the family reunions I have been to! I've been a UT resident for eight years now and haven't been to really any of the resorts. I need to do a better job of exploring my backyard!

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    1. You are definitely missing out on some Utah beauty and adventure. Thanks for reading!

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