Travel Made Easy With My Smartphone


How many people would love to explore a new city but feel directionally challenged like me?

I found this wonderful smartphone app CityMaps2Go that can be a constant companion for directions, dining, shopping, transportation and sightseeing! There is a free version available and paid versions as well.

CityMaps2Go screenshot KatieSheaDesign

You can confidently plan your travel by downloading maps for cities or countries prior to your trip.  You can use the maps even when you do not have wifi.  I love that this app tracks my position on the map so I know exactly where I am.  Make sure you download the maps while you have a WiFi connection.

Having a reliable wireless connection is a priority for me especially while traveling.  I am a Verizon Wireless User and take full advantage of their International Trip Planner Tool.  This Planner Tool helps me find the best compatible International Plan and also helps me know which networks I can access on my trip: 4G LTE, 3G, and 2G data.

You can view some Verizon Wireless International Travel FAQs HERE

If you are not already a Verizon Wireless User and want more information about their plans or how to switch over to Verizon Wireless, please visit this link.

Having a currency converter on your smartphone when traveling to multiple countries makes travel much easier.  I find the Currency App to be the most up to the minute for currency conversions.  Before you start out from your hotel with wifi availability calculate your currency so you can make the conversion without using data.

Currency app screenshot Katie Shea Design

I like having things in one place so I do not waste precious time searching all over the internet.  I love using the Trivago App that gives me all my hotel options with the lowest available prices.

Trivago app screenshot katie shea design

While I am traveling in the USA I take full advantage of my Verizon FiOS TV Service by using the FiOS Mobile App.  The past two weeks I have been on and off traveling and did not want to miss either of the conventions.  I was able to set up my DVR on the road to record what I could not watch live with my app.

Verizon FiOS App Screenshot Katie shea Design

When I was finally home I took my iPad out on my patio and hopped on Verizon FiOS App to enjoy watching the convention poolside.

Watching FiOS on Patio Katie Shea Design

Image shot with Samsung Galaxy Note5 #VZWBuzz

Disclosure: **I am a member of both #LifeOnFiOS and #VZWBuzz Ambassador Teams–  selected teams of influencers for Verizon FiOS and Verizon Wireless who love the FiOS and Wireless service. Compensation was provided and opinions are, as always my own.


Baracchi Winery and Wine Resort at the IL Falconiere, Tuscany Italy

Your invited to sip award winning wines by Baracchi Winery available online through Curious Cork Imports or visit the Baracchi Winery Wine Resort in the territory of Cortona, celebrating the Tuscan tradition.

Baracchi winery and Wine Resort at the Il falconiere

This past summer I had the pleasure of being a guest of Silvia and Riccardo Baracchi and enjoying their hospitality in their historic luxury resort.

Il Falconiere grounds framed KSD

The typical Tuscan villa which dates back to the 17th century was the home of the famous poet Antonio Guadagnoli. Now completely restored and transformed into countryside Relais; Il Falconiere it is part of the prestigious chain Relais & Chateaux, which exuberates the art of hospitality. The old olive groves and the new vineyards surround the property.

steps door Collage images by ksd

Riccardo with his son Benedetto strongly desired to continue the family tradition of grape growing and wine -making, which began in 1860, adding now a modern and high quality character.

Sangiovese, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet and Trebbiano: these are the grapes which liven up Baracchi wines. A tribute to the land of Cortona and to the pleasure of the good wine. An invitation to taste the evolution of an ancient family tradition.

road to Baracchi Winery Collage

While visiting the Baracchi Wine Resort you can discover the vineyards, the philosophy of production and wine making techniques.  All accompanied by the opportunity to dine at the Michelin Star Restaurant “Stella” and stay at the Relais & Chateaux Il Falconiere.  Enjoy the Thesan Etruscan Spa via cheer with wine therapy.

IlFalconiere Food Collage

6. Dessert at the IlFalconiere_1

I recommend treating yourself to classes at the World Famous “Under the Tuscan Sun Cooking School” with Chef Silvia Regi Baracchi.

The Tuscan Sun Cooking School

Silvia Regi Baracchi organizes the  courses/ cooking lessons which are true culinary experiences to discover the true flavors of the Tuscan tradition.

Another jewel I discovered at this lovely establishment was the Chapel of St. Jerome, a private chapel, built in 1650, is located on the property. Its facade is in Baroque style. Inside the frescoes of flavor country are influenced by the famous school of Cortona.  The chapel is still consecrated, and you can organize blessings Catholic or Protestant, renewal of vows, anniversaries.

An alternative to the special ability to use the garden for a blessing exclusive country-chic style!

Chapel of Saint Jerome

Have your Wedding cake @Ilfalconiere  by Chef @SilviaBaracchi #tuscandream

Wedding Cake at the Ilfalconiere Cef Silvia Baracchi

The Baracchi Wine Resort at the Ilfalconiere, Tuscany Italy is the perfect place for a relaxing getaway any time of the year!

“THE Falconer Restaurant * 1 Michelin star”

“Italy’s Top Hotel – 3rd in Europe – 6th in the World,” Travel & Leisure 2007-2008

“400 The World Best Hotels”, Forbes Traveller

An  Android RAZR HD smartphone was used this summer to shoot all images by Katie Shea Design in this post.  #VZWBuzz

Verizon Wireless Lifestyle Blogger Program

Place Pins by Pinterest: Top 25 New York Shopping Destinations

Pinterest, the online pinboard for sharing everything from wedding china ideas to travel inspiration, is now letting users add location to their pins reported by ABC today.

San Francisco-based Pinterest says that its “Place Pins” were designed to “combine all the beautiful imagery of a travel magazine with the utility of a map and put it all online so you can share it with friends.” The new feature is available on Pinterest’s website and on the latest version of its mobile apps.

Pinterest says there are more than 750 million travel-related pins on the site already. With the new location-based pins, users will be able to create maps for friends visiting from out of town, or vacation spots they want to see. Pinterest launched the location tool with a slew of boards from travel sites, magazines and companies to serve as examples on how they could be used. more…

Katie Shea Design Has created a NYC Shopping Destination “Place Pins” Pinboard to help facilitate the smooth management of time while planning out a holiday shopping excursion in NYC.

The shopping destinations and descriptions were sourced from New York Magazine’s post on the Top 25 New York Shopping Destinations.

Top 25 NYC Shopping Destinations Place Pin Pinterest Map 2013

Top 25 New York Shopping Destinations Mapped Here on Pinterest.  source:

This  “Place Pins” Board gives the shopper an overview of the possibilities available while also becoming aware immediately of the amount of time a particular area of the city can take to be shopped. The Pinboard’s overview feature also helps tremendously planning your means of transportation whether utilizing subway, bus , cab or by foot.

I am excited about all the time saving possibilities this feature has to offer me and my lifestyle!