Tag Archives for " Reviews "

Mother-Daughter Date Night Cooking Class Review

By Hayley Braun | Uncategorized

If you're looking for a unique date-night experience, I'd highly recommend checking out a cooking class. It's a great way to learn some new skills, have a fun night out, and get a taste of different cultures without even leaving your hometown.

This is my review of our experience at Wynton's World Cooking School near Raleigh, NC.

A Mother-Daughter Date Night

For my mom’s 50th birthday, I wanted to make sure I planned something extra special. I looked into planning a weekend away, but it wasn’t practical with my work schedule (or budget). 

Then, I thought of the perfect mother daughter date idea:  a date-night cooking class, just like we had done in Peru

I searched all over the internet to find the perfect class. That's when I came across Wynton's World Cooking School. The menu sounded amazing, and the reviews were promising, so I decided to give it a shot!

When we met for our mother daughter date night, we were greeted by Chef Wynton himself. We were the first “couple” there, and I still wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. We sat down, uncorked our bottle of wine, and waited for the class to begin.

Our Wynton's World Cooking Class

Our entire time at Wynton's World was amazing from beginning to end. I'd love to do it again! Here's a little more about our experience:

Wynton's World Cooking School kitchen before the class

This was the set up when we entered Wynton's kitchen. It was a small and intimate atmosphere with only 8 of us, but we still had plenty of room to move around.  Wynton started off by telling us about the menu and how we should expect the class to go. We moved back and forth between the kitchen and the dining room with each course. This gave us time to socialize with the others in our class. 

For the first cooking session, each couple was assigned a specific prepping task. Wynton explained each task to the entire group, and then we broke off into individual couples. My mom and I started off by prepping the pasta dough. The instructions were also on the sheet in front of us, and Wynton was helpful in guiding us through the details.

For the first course, we had a fresh bruschetta that the couple next to us had made during the prep time. Wynton and his team made the transition from kitchen to table seamless. It was incredible how simple it was, but still so delicious! 

We got back into the kitchen, and began prepping the next course. After getting to know our classmates better and with a little wine in our systems, the whole class was having a great time. We laughed and teased each other about our lack of cooking skills, and placed bets on whose dish Wynton would need to re-do.  

 When it came to the pasta making part of the class, we were excited to see each couple got to make their own ravioli. It turned out great (despite our lack of cooking skills), and the best part is, we found the same ravioli cutter on Amazon to try at home! Who knew pasta making was SO easy?!  

After an amazing butternut squash stuffed ravioli, we were back to cooking for the last time. I sautéed the mushrooms, and then my mom started cooking the chicken. That's when Wynton surprised us with the grand finale: a flambéed chicken marsala! Again, it was both delicious and fun to make.  

Final Thoughts & Review

Overall, my mom and I had an incredible date night together. I would love to go back! I think it's the perfect experience to share with a loved one for any special occasion.

Whether you're with your best friend, spouse, mom, dad, sibling, or grandparent, you'll both enjoy the laid back and fun atmosphere in Wynton's World Cooking School.

Personally, I loved the way that Wynton highlighted Italian culture while teaching us about Italian cuisine. He explained the origins of the different foods, and the dining culture of Italians.

We later found out Wynton spends many weeks a year taking tour groups to different countries and has learned all of this first-hand. He has tours all over the world, everywhere from Argentina, to Japan, to New York City and more. We love to travel (obviously), so hearing Wynton's stories was an especially cool experience for us.

If you're looking for a fun mother-daughter or date-night idea, I'd highly recommend trying out a cooking class!

Frontier Airlines Review: What to Expect on your Flight

By Marley Braun | Travel Tips

If you've seen the amazing deals from Frontier Airlines, you may be thinking: Is this legit?  Well, the answer is yes!  Even with a recent 5-hour delay, I would not hesitate to book another trip with Frontier Airlines.

"But it's too good to be true! What's the catch?!"

I'll admit, if you think the cheap prices are "too good to be true", you're right.  Even if you get a great deal on the tickets, your Frontier Airlines flight might end up costing you more than expected. Below is everything you need to know to keep your Frontier Airlines experience closer to $40 rather than $140.  If you go into it with the right expectations, you'll have a much more enjoyable trip!

What to Know Before Your Flight

Snacks and drinks are provided, but at a cost.

Other than a cup of lukewarm water, be aware that you'll need to pay for any refreshments on the plane. I always bring my own snacks and travel with my S’ip bottle. I take it through security empty, and then fill it up at one of the many water fountains on the way to my gate. That way, my water stays nice and cold the entire flight.

A checked bag can be cheaper than bringing a carry-on.  

If you purchase baggage at booking, a carry-on is $35 and a checked bag is only $30. When we fly on Frontier Airlines, my husband and I each carry a small personal item with our computers, one change of clothes and our medication. My husband’s favorite backpack to travel with is his professional weekender.  

Then, we check one shared 50-pound suitcase each way.  Keep in mind these prices are added on each way, so this one shared suitcase costs us an extra $60 total.  

Note that baggage prices go up quickly the longer you wait to purchase them.  You can check Frontier's bag pricing here. It can get up to $60 per bag if you wait until departure, so be cautious!

Beware, your plane might not be as roomy as you are used to.

  • The tray table always make me laugh because it is so small. You can set an iPad easily on it, but I am not so sure I would trust my laptop to stay put.
  • Are you an armrest type of person?  You won’t like the small excuse for an arm rest on Frontier.  
  • Like to recline?  Frontier seats do not recline so be prepared.
  • Enjoy cushy seats? You won’t find them.
  • The good news: Plenty of leg room! I am happy to report I have flown on Frontier multiple times and I have found every plane to have ample leg room.  I also find they have plenty of head room. I don’t feel claustrophobic on their planes at all. (And it's not just because I'm short, my husband agrees!)

Remember to pack your own entertainment & electronics.

There is no wifi or onboard entertainment, so make sure you download your movies ahead of time and bring your own headphones. I never fly without my noise cancelling earbuds.

There are also no USB charging ports on Frontier Airlines, so I like to bring my travel back-up battery charger just in case. 

Pre-Flight Packing Checklist

  • Snacks for the flight
  • A water bottle
  • A portable charger
  • Your own entertainment and headphones
  • One personal item packed with any essential medications, important documents, expensive electronics, chargers, or anything else you'd prefer to keep with you in case of a delayed flight. 
  • If you check a bag, remember to do it online at least 24 hours before to save some money!

Booking Tips on Frontier Airlines

  • Fly on “off” days of the week.  You can only get their very cheapest fares if you are willing to work around their schedule, not yours.  
  • Again, remember to purchase your baggage options at booking for the cheapest rates.
  • If you want to pick a seat ahead of time, it's considered an upgrade and will cost extra.  For shorter flights, I just roll the dice and get what I get. It’s usually a middle seat, but I can deal with that for 2 hours.  On longer flights, especially red eyes, I splurge and pay to pick my seat.
  • Sign up for their weekly emails.  They have some great specials, sometimes as low as $25 each way.

My Frontier Airlines Review

I actually wrote the majority of this article during my five-hour delay on Frontier.  

I heard so many people around me say they would never fly Frontier again, and that our delay was proof that flying a low-cost carrier wasn't worth it.  I disagree with them. I don’t think any of the major airlines would have handled our mechanical issue any differently. Would they have gotten us a new plane or a new crew quicker?  Possibly, but I was recently delayed 33 hours by Delta/Air France and they are certainly not a low cost carrier.

Overall, I would definitely still recommend flying on Frontier Airlines, as long as you know what you're getting yourself in to.

If you follow my guide and know what to expect ahead of time on Frontier, I would certainly recommend them for shorter flights.  Would I want to sit in their planes for a cross country trip? I don’t think so. I have flown on Frontier Airlines to Las Vegas twice, and I think the 4 ½ hour trip is about as long as my older body can handle.  For someone closer to Hayley’s age, I would say don’t think twice!

See how to use the Splitwise app for sharing travel costs with friends.

The #1 App You Need for Traveling with Friends

By Hayley Braun | Travel Tips

Love traveling with friends, but hate when the time comes to split the bill?  Try using Splitwise!

Splitwise is one of the best non-travel apps that I have ever downloaded for travel.  It's a simple, but super powerful way to track shared expenses on vacation.  No more worrying about the awkward "who owes who" conversation!

What is Splitwise?

Splitwise is a free tool for easily tracking expenses, and keeping all of your shared bills in one place.  When it's time to pay each other back, Splitwise will calculate the "IOU" amount for you!  

The app can be accessed through an iPhone, Android, or the web.

Splitwise can be accessed from a phone application or via the web.

Splitwise accessed on the web

Splitwise for Travel Expenses

I got Splitwise to share expenses between my roommates, but it didn't take me long to realize how useful it is for travel.  Here's just a few of the many times where it can help you out when traveling in a group:

  • Splitting the bill at a restaurant. It's pretty uncommon outside of the U.S. to find a restaurant that'll split your table's tab four ways. 
  • Dividing up gas or other transportation costs (taxis, Ubers, etc). 
  • Shared hotel or accommodation costs.  (BONUS TIP:  Check out Splitwise's Travel "Fairness Calculator" to decide how to split costs when each person has a different # of nights stay.)
  • Groceries and other supplies (paper towels, trash bags, toilet paper, etc) if you're staying in a rented home. 
  • Shared alcohol. Bring on the beer buckets! But really, a shared bottle of wine to watch the sunset is a must. 
  • Buying tickets in a group. This way you can get seats together at all the best events, and make the whole ticket-buying process easier. 
  • Loaning money. Maybe this is just me, but in Europe we would "spot each-other 10 euros" all the time when there were no ATMs around. 
  • ...and more!

How to Use Splitwise

1.  Download the Splitwise App

Download the Splitwise app on iOS, Android, or visit the website here.  

Get set up by creating a group, and inviting your travel companions to join Splitwise. 

Some basic menu options in the Splitwise app are shown below:

The main menu on Splitwise and how to use some of the app features.

2.  Start adding your expenses

To add a new bill or expense, click "plus" icon in the bottom middle of the screen.

On the next screen (shown below), you can add your bill.

How to switch the currency and payment type using the Splitwise app.

Two of my favorite things that you can do when adding a new bill in Splitwise:

  • Switch the currency type.  This is SUPER helpful to keep track when the currency owed keeps changing. (For example: when you pay for a hostel with a credit card in U.S. Dollars, then use the local currency at dinner or a market).
  • Decide how a cost should be split among the group.  With this feature, you can choose to split a bill with just 3 of 4 people, or specify if one person owes less than the others. (You know, for your one friend who swears they didn't have a bite of the appetizer)

3.  "Settle Up" with cash or Venmo

How to Settle Up using the Splitwise App.

When it comes time to pay each other back, find the "Settle Up" button.

The "Settle Up" screen will then give you the option to either record a cash payment to clear your debts, or send a payment via Venmo.  Easy as that!

Favorite Feature:  Simplify Debts

One of the options when using Splitwise is the debt simplifications, or "Simplify Debts" feature (found under Advanced Settings).  This feature was implemented to reduce redundant payments, and can really simplify your pay-back train in bigger groups.

For example, if I owe my dad $5, and he owes my brother $5, I would just pay the $5 debt directly to my brother.  Just another way that this app leaves less time worrying about finances, and more time enjoying your trip!

What are your other must-have apps for traveling with friends?