anniversary in mexico

i have said this story quite a few times over the past year but after this post, i might be done. our original plan last year, for our five year anniversary, was to go to nyc. i love nyc. there’s something so old world and classic about this electric city but we ended up getting pregnant and gave birth to ellie right before our anniversary. so, taking a trip was out of the question with ellie only being over a month old, near our anniversary.

we love celebrating those roundabout numbers but we felt it was fit for us to still book a trip away for our sixth anniversary! hc decided to schedule a trip to mexico. i was game. i am all about tropical destinations!

i was sooooo looking forward to our time away. we try to get away, without kids, at least once a year. it’s so important for us and our marriage. every couple should try to do this. of course you miss your kids terribly but it’s sooooo nice to have time with just us two…do things at our pace and just take care of each other.

our travels to cancun was smooth. no craziness, no bumps, and once we landed, it was so HOT out! hc contracted a private ride for us to the resort, he said he knew better than to cram us into a shuttle with a bunch of other folks. haha! he knows me so well!

we arrived at our hotel and it was lovely. unfortunately, the room reserved for us was not available due to a malfunctioning air-conditioner. so, we bunked in a room that was soooooo tiny! gah, it was so small but they promised us a room that we had originally booked by tomorrow.

so the next day, we got coffee, went to breakfast, hit the pool, and then checked to see if our room was finally ready {they delayed it a bit later than what we were expecting} and they said we were good to go! they updated our bracelet info and we walked over to the third tower, to our room.

we walked in to the best surprise! the room was beautiful! it had the MOST gorgeous view of the sea, it was sooooo much bigger and better, and they had decorated the room in celebration of our anniversary!!! how sweet and amazing was that?! they scattered rose petals all over the floor with candles, created a heart out of the petals on the bed, and left us with chilled champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. i was so delighted!

hc and i did a lot of relaxing. a lot of sleeping. a lot of lying around, pretty much doing nothing and we loved it! we tried a japanese restaurant called hakka…it was surprisingly delicious. we ate at their 24 hour cafe – they served breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late night dining. we sat at the pool a lot and drank a lot of coconut margaritas. those drinks were super tasty and went down way too easy! ha!

we stayed local and it was perfect. i really enjoyed the people. i was pleasantly surprised at how sweet, kind, polite, and how hard working everyone was. it really hit home to my heart. i really appreciated illiana, roman, alberto, and everyone else who serviced our needs. they made our stay amazing and we really enjoyed seeing them throughout our stay there.

i was overwhelmed by the caribbean sea. it was stunning. the water was so clear. the sand was so soft and white. the color of the sea was so vivid. it changed from bright blue, light blue, and emerald green. i was mesmerized. i loved the sound of the ocean, the crashing of the waves, the awesomeness of it.

on our second to last day there, the waves became much more powerful and they closed the beach late morning due to the water breaking very high onto the shoreline. i blamed hurricane irma. although it was over 2500 miles away, the size of the hurricane was 400 miles wide! that’s huge! it was a gorgeous day but the waves were so angry…it was telling us something.

so, let me tell you about the crazy nature occurrences that were all happening at once. over a week ago, there was hurricane harvey that battered the coast of texas and destroyed so many towns, homes, and flooded a huge part of the area. around the same time, there were the monsoons at bangladesh that flooded the area causing so much destruction. at the same time, there were the wildfires burning a majority of the west coast!  while we were in cancun, there were three, yes three hurricanes swirling all around us. irma {atlantic/ cat 5}, jose {atlantic/ cat 4}, and katia {gulf of mexico/cat 1}. then, on thursday night…the day we flew in, we were lying in bed and i noticed the bed shaking. i nudge hc and asked him if he was shaking the bed. he looked at me like i was crazy and said no. i repeatedly asked him, “do you feel the bed shaking?!”. he said yes and we laid there for a bit feeling the tremors. hc then stood up and looked out the window to see if if was windy outside or maybe something was going on to cause the building to shake and tremble. nothing made sense so hc got back into bed and the bed continued to shake and tremble. i was a bit freaked out. wtf. what was going on?? after a few long minutes, the trembling finally halted. we truly had no idea what the heck that was until the morning when hc saw that an earthquake had rocked the west side of mexico! the biggest earthquake to hit the country in 100 years. how bananas was that?! to sum it all up, within a week, we’ve had monsoons, flooding, multiple hurricanes, tornados, wildfires, and an earthquake hitting us hard. i think mother nature was readjusting itself after the eclipse we just experienced.

anyhoo, on our last full day in cancun, it was our anniversary! yay! we spent the day at the pool and retired back into our hotel room to relax before dinner. hc had made reservations at a restaurant called navios. it was awesome! i loved it! it was absolutely perfect. the restaurant was out on a pier and there were huts, pretty lights, and calm waters that surrounded us. it was a beautiful scene that elevated our dining experience. hc had made our reservations just in time for us to watch the sunset. once we were seated and within 20 minutes or so, the sun started to set and it was so pretty to watch. the food was so good {the best we had while in cancun} and the service was on point. i thoroughly enjoyed our anniversary dinner at navies, it was a perfect last celebratory evening on our vacation!

thank you hc for planning this fabulous trip for our anniversary! it was absolutely perfect. it was exactly what we needed and definitely a lovely trip to remember. thank you hc for being an amazing partner, friend, and husband. we are so blessed and i am so lucky to have you. i love you to infinity and beyond!

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[our view]

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[the water was so clear and blue!]

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[ahhhhh, sand between my toes]

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[fresh ceviche]

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[so gorgeous]

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[cheers!]

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[honestly, i think my bikini top was upside down. hahaha! backwards cleavage. eep! and that belly pudge…i am proud to say that this body gave birth to two beautiful girls]

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[enjoying fresh ceviche]

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[so gorgeous]

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[i’m in awe]

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[scavengers]

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[so freakin’ amazing]

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[ready for dinner…i literally brought noooooo clothes. ha! while i was packing, my monkeys were hanging all over me and i lost track of what i was actually bringing. i pretty much wore the same thing the entire time we were there!]

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[yummy japanese restaurant in mexico]

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[gorgeous moon over the water, right outside the restaurant]

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[someone trying to figure out my camera. haha!]

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[city lights]

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[cloudy moon]

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[sunrise]

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[breakfast]

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[a morning staple]

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[it was soooo sweet, to celebrate our anniversary, the hotel workers decorated our hotel room and left us champagne & chocolate covered strawberries!]

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[sooooo delicious!]

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[oleo resort]

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[the view from our room, on the sixth floor…it’s no higher than eight levels]

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[the view from the hotel]

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[it was so dang hot there day and night]

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[loving these fun huts you can dine in]

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[studying that menu hard]

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[i was literally so hot, sweaty, and bloated…ugh]

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[the food was so yummy!]

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xoxo

hotlanta

my oh my! i have been waiting to write this story!

our trip to atlanta was amazing and cray at the same time! the amazing part was being in atlanta with our friends and enjoying the beautiful scenery all around us. the cray part was our traveling debacle and sick kids.

it starts with our uber ride to the airport. i was sitting next to olive and halfway to the airport, i noticed that she formed a red welt on her left cheek. i pointed it out to hc and he said it was probably a bug bite. i was perplexed. a bug bite?! there wasn’t a bug flying around in the cab nor did i really take my eyes off of her on the way there to see a bug biting her. well, it then disappeared. humph, ok.

we were in line at the security check in when olive did the potty dance. she had just come off a very bad bout with diarrhea and when baby girl needs to go to the bathroom, you take her immediately! never in my life did i ever have a reason to get out of the security line and, honestly, didn’t know what the protocol was. so, being in an urgent state to take my daughter to the restroom immediately, i jumped out of line and starting dodging underneath the stanchions. oh myyyyyyy goodness! three security men and a dog almost jumped me and olive! everyone was yelling at us – ‘whoa, whoa!’ and yelling other things at us, i didn’t hear or understand. i turned to the tsa lady manning the line and said, “my daughter needs to use the washroom!”, she then let us through. holy cow! i had no idea you couldn’t do that?!

once we were inside the bathroom stall, i pulled down olive’s pants and noticed her red skin and white raised welts running up and down her leg! i freaked out, i didn’t know what it was, so we walked out to hc and i showed him. he was worried. he went over to the AA counter and asked someone to come over to help us. they said they could call the paramedics and we said yes. we didn’t want to board an airplane if olive wasn’t well. we wanted to make sure she was ok before we went anywhere!

the AA folks were so accommodating. they said to not worry about our tickets and we were free to rebook, they even gave us a cab fare pass just in case we came back to the airport, and the ladies who helped us were so kind. while we were waiting for the paramedics, olive’s ‘rash’ was spreading everywhere. it was on her arm, then her other arm, then her other leg. her fingers and toes started swelling and turning purple. oh it wasn’t good. olive started crying because she didn’t like all the attention on her.

the paramedics came and we agreed to go with them to the emergency room. olive was so upset. they strapped her into the car seat inside the ambulance and she was crying. they were poking at her and trying to get her blood pressure, etc. and she was scared because i couldn’t be by her side. they made me sit across the truck, seat belted in. it was tough to not be able to console her. nothing is worse then seeing your baby upset and you can’t make it better! once they stopped treating her and the sirens were going, she was finally amused and started smiling!

we arrived at the hospital and she was put into a room. the doctors checked her out and basically said that she reacted to something in the environment and asked us repeatedly if we changed anything in her routine. no, no, no. the only thing different about that morning was the uber ride. we then concluded it was the dirtiest car we have ever been in! yuck!!!

we stayed in the hospital for an hour, the doctors wanted to monitor her and make sure her welts and rash settled down. they gave her some medicine and gave us the green light to fly. we checked out and called for a cab, which took almost a half hour to get to the hospital!

when we arrived, we went straight to the counter and gave them our story. they were looking at flights and the next flight out they could get us on was at 5:45! ugh! our initial flight was at 8:30am and we had been up since 5am! then the attendant told us that our original flight was still here! what?! are you kidding me?! they said it was delayed…holy delay! they contacted the plane and said that we were here and on our way. they pushed us to the front of the security line but that was when things got hairy.

one: we have kids, that means we are slower. it’s not like we were two adults rushing through easily. two: we have kids. hahaha. we had a stroller and a gazillion bags. three: they decided to check olive’s suitcase. arghhhhhhh. i forgot that she had full sized liquid items in there and when i packed it, i assumed we were going to check it – we didn’t. four: the gate was alllllllll the wayyyyyyy at the end of the airport. you try running that far with a stroller, two kids, and so many bags! we were running like turtles! once we got to our gate, the plane took off! are you keeeeeeding me?! hc was fuming!

he called AA and was trying to figure things out. we were rebooked onto the 5:45pm flight but they said we could try stand by at a 11:15am flight. bad news? it was allllllll the wayyyyyyy on the other side of the airport. holy cow. so we hauled ass to the other side, i think i walked miles that morning. once we arrived at the gate, we sat down and chilled for a second. i needed to pee but before we knew it, the attendant walked up to us and said we were on! ohmergawd. we then had to break down the stroller and get ourselves together because, honestly, i wasn’t expecting to be on this plane ride! they were giving hc a tough time with something, i really can’t remember what, but hc told us {me and ellie} to go ahead and board the plane.

i walked on with ellie and realized that we all had separated seats. olive was in the back, hc up front, and me in the middle of the plane. nope. that wasn’t going to work with olive. my daughter was not going to sit by herself. the attendants so kindly put hc and olive together and i sat next to this sweet man from romania who lived in london. what was also wonderful was the fact that a few people volunteered to switch their seats so we could be together!

let me tell you, i was so thankful the plane ride was so short. i didn’t get to go to the bathroom before we boarded and seriously had to pee soooooooo bad! ellie was fantastic throughout the first part of the plane ride until she became tired. {i always keep a paci in the diaper bag and didn’t think twice to check if it was still in there, so when we arrived at the airport, i rummaged through to find it and someone had taken it out of the bag!!!!!} i had no paci when ellie got tired, so there i was on the plane with a cranky, tired baby and no paci to soothe her. she screamed, cried, yelled, shrieked and i all i could do was shush her, calm her with my voice, and rock her. i couldn’t calm her down. she didn’t want to nurse. she was so upset! i finally started to forcefully rock her back and forth, back and forth {mind you, this plane we were on was sooooooo small} and it started to work. she started calming down and within minutes, she fell asleep! thank goodness!

we finally arrived in atlanta and that was when the fun began! it was warm, we were finally there, and we couldn’t wait to see everyone! we just wanted our traveling time to be over with! ellie was still cranky and hc and i were just spent. we got our rental car and once we were on the road…we could finally breathe and relax.

we arrived at johnny and janice’s gorgeous house and settled in. they were the most gracious hosts. janice had made little gift bags for both girls {how cute and sweet was that?!} and prepared the room and bathroom for us with fresh linens and towels. after we dropped off our luggage in the room, we sat back with drinks in our hands by their pool. wooooo hoooooo! we were so ready to relax and have fun!

unfortunately, a day later…ellie wasn’t feeling well either. the poor girl was screaming bloody murder when she had a bowel movement. we thought maybe she might have had what olive had prior to our trip, a virus that was causing olive to have severe diarrhea. after another day, we realized it wasn’t the same case and that ellie was suffering from either hemorrhoids or something of that sort. oh my, my poor poor baby girl. she was miserable. we had to take her to the urgent care to give her relief and to hopefully get her on the road to recovery. both olive and ellie were trading nights on who would be most miserable at night. it was a tough vacation. i think i slept less on our trip than i did at home!

well, we made it through. we, honestly, had a terrific time in atlanta! we fell in love with the area they live in and really enjoyed all the shops, restaurants, and quaint corners the city had to offer. it was absolutely gorgeous down there! johnny and janice have a sweet situation going on!

of course they were so wonderful and treated us like family! they were excellent hosts and showed us all the great little spots around town and made fun suggestions for us on the days we explored on our own. i loooooooved it down there, i truly did!

then came the day to leave, i was ready to get these babies on the road to recovery. i was super sad to leave but excited to go home because, truly, there is no place like home! i am sure everyone would agree with me! we headed on over to the airport and found our way around. we were trying to check our bags and check ourselves in but we were having difficulties. hc was trying to check olive in but something was malfunctioning…then a ticket printed out and i grabbed it, thinking it was her confirmation & boarding pass. we walked back and forth trying to get through security when a nice old man said, with our stroller, we could go through the special needs line. ok. soooooo we walked all the way back the way we came. oy!

the special needs line was amazing. everyone was sooooo stinkin’ nice and we basically cut in front of everyone! we arrived at our gate and settled in. we bought food, went to the bathroom, and we were ready! as they called our group, we got into line and when they asked for our tickets, i rummaged through my purse and pulled out what i had. it turns out that a receipt had printed out instead of a boarding pass for olive! we managed to get olive through security without a ticket! whaaaaaaa?! ugh. so hc told me to go ahead and get seated while he checked olive in. gahhhhhhh. he finally sat down with olive and as we were buckling in our seat belts, hc asked me if i put away olive’s suitcase. um, no. suitcase? what suitcase? sh*t. hc ran to the front of the plane and scanned the gate area to see if we left olive’s suitcase behind. nope.

seriously. we can’t do airports without a glitch! we were so perplexed! what the hell did we do with olive’s suitcase?! we back tracked our steps and realized that we left her suitcase on the conveyor belt at security. yup. we just walked away from it and never looked back. omergawd! i can’t believe we did that! so days after we were home, we finally tracked down her luggage and had it sent back to our house!

so, in the end…our traveling experience was freakin’ nuts but our actual vacation in atlanta was da bomb {as you will see in all the pictures}! we loved visiting them, loved hanging out with everyone, loved exploring the city, and love the A family. thank you to johnny and janice for being so generous, kind, awesome, and opening their home up to us! much love to y’all!

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[olive ready to go and having fun at the airport she has a flummoxed look here because i was calling her name from afar and she had no idea where i was. hahaha!]

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[checking out her goody bag]

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*****

W E ‘ V E  L A N D E D

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[ellie already throwing down beers, literally]

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[johnny and janice’s beautiful backyard]

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[their amazing pool]

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[fitz the cute dog]

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[their gorgeous outdoor dining area]

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[dining area]

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[the beautiful gazebo with a fireplace]

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[delicious made to order pizza]

*****

S H O P P I N G  T I M E

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[she woke up and found the toys]

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[baby bed head hair]

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[opening up their welcome gifts!]

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[olive loved watching fitz]

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[her hair was getting wild from the the heat and humidity!]

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[we loved ponce city market!]

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[how sweet were these girls holding hands?!]

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[apparently this is where you go up in an elevator and there’s an arcade and such upstairs]

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[you can never have too many macarons]

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[delicious little french bakery]

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[i loved these pink chairs]

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[she really wanted the red/pink lollipop]

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[i told her she could have her lollipop after a bathroom break and she immediately gave me this look! hahaha!]

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[she was so stinkin’ cute licking it! she licked it almost straight through the middle]

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[some very cool bikes at a very cool store we were shopping at]

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[this babe. she did this all on her own! what a model!]

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[oh these babes! they were all so cute!]

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[oh how we love this beautiful family!]

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*****

P O O L  D A Y

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[flexing her muscles]

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[poolside babe]

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[nice sunglasses]

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[the most delicious nachos, tasty beverage, and must have shades]

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[she’s sooooooo darn sweet]

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*****

D I N N E R

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[my sweet girls]

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*****

G E O R G I A  A Q U A R I U M

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[good morning!]

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[she was so excited]

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[this fish was HUGE]

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[this whale shark was freakin’ amazing!]

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[hc had to try the gin and tonic in a can!]

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[my smiley babe]

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[waiting in line to get her face painted]

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[she was talking to the lady but also a bit anxious]

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[she was such a good girl]

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[the lady said close your eyes…she complied, hahaha!]

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[beautiful seahorse!]

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*****

E X P L O R E

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[breakfast at sweet melissa’s]

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[she thought it was funny to put everything on her head]

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[little shop of stories]

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[the cutest cards]

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xoxo

palm springs

ok, so this year was the year of canceled trips. we had a trip planned to ocho rios in july…well that was nixed. the baby’s due date was the exact day of the plane tickets we had! ha! we had our annual trip to vegas planned for august with matt and johann…that was a no go. obvs, i wouldn’t want to travel to vegas and leave a 2-3 week old baby! aaaaand our 5 year anniversary trip to new york was nixed because the baby would still be a freshie at only 5-6 weeks old!

i told hc a few months ago that i wanted to get away…go somewhere warm, just us, and relax. it would be the only trip we could squeeze in before the babes. we have way too much to do before she comes! we have remodeling, decorating, a wedding, showers, etc. leading up to this babe being born.

so, i was looking forward to this trip so much! sunshine, getting a tan, and just hanging out with my hubby. we were set with my parents watching miss olive. i packed her cute little suitcase the day before we left and i was getting sad. i was going to miss this little bugger! oh she lights up my life! i was excited to leave but it’s so different now, leaving her. i have left her before…when she was younger, but now that she is older, it really tugs at my heart strings. she’s a little person with a big personality and the fact that she loves me back so much, it melts my heart.

ok, well on to our trip. we had an early flight and for some reason, o’hare was sooooooo incredibly slooooooooooow. our baggage check, our security check, our everything. it took forever to get to our gate. the starbucks line {with one person in front of me} was soooooo slow. it took seven minutes to get a coffee. what?!! plus, buying magazines even took forever! it was like everyone was on slo-mo.

anyhoo, we landed in palm springs and the freakin’ airport is pretty much outside!!! you walk out the terminal and into beautiful, sunny weather outside! how amaze is that?! we got our rental within minutes and headed to the hotel which was 6-7 minutes away. oh, it was glorious. our room wasn’t ready so we dropped off our bags and had a drink outside under a cabana by the pool.

after our drinks, we walked to downtown palm springs, which was only a few blocks away.  it was warm, sunny, and perfect. we decided to nab lunch at sherman’s. a recommendation from many people. it was great! we sat on the patio and enjoy down home grub and tasty lemonade. it was fabulous!

we walked back and checked into our hotel. i loved our little room. it was so cute! the decor was so deco modern fun and we were right next to the pool! perfect view! i loved the avalon. it’s so quaint, cute, pretty, and green! it’s such a fun, lovely hotel. a very boutique hotel.

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[our typical airport selfie]

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[cheers to our baby moon! i was obsessed with virgin mojitos!]

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[warm weather and lots of green]

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[was kind of expecting this pic but was kind of not…tired from our travels]

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[so west coast to me]

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[something you never see at home]

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[the big recommendation from everyone! we loved eating here…perfect patio weather and great eats!]

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[hc’s big ol’ sandwich!]

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[loving our room]

we had a really chill night the first night. we were a bit tired…gosh, are we old. ugh. we ordered room service and just relaxed. hc and i talked about our plans for the next few days. we were totally ok with being chill, lazy, relaxed, uneventful…whatever you want to call it. it was our get away and we didn’t want any pressure to have to do something. our main was concern was to do much of nothing. so with that agreement, our first night there was fabulous! ha!

we hit the pool the next morning. the one thing about coming from central time to pacific, is that we would wake up so early {i can’t sleep in anymore, now that i have a kid…whaaaaa}! so we just rolled with it. it was really nice to start our day so early! we were ready and at the pool by 8:10! oh my!

after two plus hours in the pool, we headed over to the hotel’s restaurant, chi chi to have breakfast. they have a lovely outdoor seating area by their other pool. it was so comfortable and serene and really beautiful at night with the hanging lanterns! our breakfast was soooooooo good! so fresh, savory, and delicious. after we ate, we headed to another pool within the hotel to chill. it was a great morning/afternoon indeed! we headed back to the hotel and pretty much napped. ahhhhhh. living the life of ‘no kid’. hahaha! we headed out to dinner later and then back to our hotel to wind down {although we went out a little bit later for an ice cream run!}.

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[loving the family pool]

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[30 weeks pregnant]

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[direct sunlight…yessssss]

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[having breakfast at the avalon…loved sitting alfresco along the pool]

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[more virgin mojitos!]

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[check out our photo bomber!]

the next day we decided to drive up a mountain. hc really wanted to do it and i was game. until we started going through winding roads up so high with no guard rail! eep! i am afraid of heights and that was so scary for me!!!! oh, never again. i am glad we did it but i don’t think i would ever want to do that again! it was beautiful, scenic, and overall fun but i was anxious and got motion sickness. oh so not fun! we hit a high of 6500 feet! crazy! we pulled over so many times to let cars pass because we were going at a slower speed. i am sure so many people are used to driving these roads but they were driving so fast! there were some moments i felt like i was in a nightmare, driving off a cliff! yeah, did i mention i am afraid of heights?!

after our mountain escapades, we headed back to the hotel and got ready for the pool. we had the best time! we met so many cool couples while hanging out. everyone was so chill and fun to talk to. we spent a good chunk of our afternoon at the pool but unfortunately, the sun and the heat was getting to me, plus i couldn’t shake the motion sickness that i had from that morning’s trip. hc and i retired mid-late afternoon to our room. we relaxed and got ready to go out to dinner.

we made reservations at a place called melvyn’s. another restaurant recommended by many others. it was swanky, old, and fun. we loved everything about it. it was dated, had history, and everyone who worked there took their jobs so seriously! we had a great time, enjoyed our dinner, and hc was excited to be sitting in sinatra’s corner! haha! i think that was the most exciting part of the evening for him! he kept saying, “do you really think sinatra sat in this corner?!”

overall we had an amazing time in palm springs. we really enjoyed our time together. it was great to have actual conversations with hc! i know, that sounds crazy but we loved all our alone time. it was so nice to just spend time together and be on our schedule. we loved palm springs and we definitely want to go back!

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[scenic pit stop]

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[30 weeks pregnant]

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[mile high cafe]

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[yummy!]

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[eating at melvyn’s at ingleside inn]

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[captain tommy preparing hc’s steak diane]

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[yummy place!]

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xoxo

las vegas part deux

on our third day in vegas, we started it out the right way again…c a b a n a time! woo! we started early {again} and this time around we ended our pool time a bit later than the day prior. our first day at the cabana, it actually rained. like hard. everyone was in awe because it never rains in vegas and if it does, it only lasts for a few minutes. but the rain that happened the day prior was fierce. it thundered, there was lightening, and it rained very heavily where they were posting flash flood warnings! thank goodness we had already clocked in some major pool time before it rained but it did cut it short by an hour or two.

our second day at the pool, it did rain again but it was very short lived and we were back out in the pool partying it up within no time! after spending 7-8 hours in the pool…yes you read that correctly…we spend that much time out in the sun drinking, eating, and ‘swimming’, we all went back to our rooms to get ready for the evening.

this time around, we were heading out to old vegas {aka fremont st.} for some sushi and amusement. we met up with matt and johann, grabbed a cab to our destination of choice and didn’t fear for our lives like we did the day before with our crazy reckless cabbie driver!

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[strawberry lemon vodka lemonade!]

when we arrived, it was quickly apparent that old vegas was double the craziness of the strip. our eyes were getting whip lash from all the {discreet} gawking and weirdness swirling all around us. we slowly walked our way to the sushi restaurant and we were 100% entertained along the way. we finally made it to the restaurant {super cute and quaint place} and we were seated right away {we had reservations and we were early but it was not a problem…thank goodness because panda – aka johann – was hungry!}!

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[old vegas & sushi]

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[ready to manger manger!]

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[fremont street has gotten crazier!]

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[people peddling for money]

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[bright lights, lots of people, and pure craziness]

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[need i say more?]

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[the man in the diaper scared the crap out of hc, rightfully so and said. hahaha]

after we ate, we walked along freemont street again. it was so overwhelming and honestly, quite sad. so many ‘street’ acts were going on, waaaaaayyyyy too many children up too late and viewing a lot of nuttiness, it all really made my heart heavy. it was gritty, real, and definitely a world i am not often exposed to {i really don’t view myself as a sheltered person either}. but it was heartbreaking to see so many people doing what ever they could to make a buck and it was just a wee bit disturbing to me. after we spent some time in old vegas, we headed back to our hotel area and got ourselves some gelato and called it a night!

***

the next day, we were meeting liz, josh, and family at mon ami on the strip for brunch. before we met up, we stopped at giada for a drink! it was delicious. i had a prosecco sangria that was super yummy! we enjoyed the ambiance, decor, and the movie they were playing on the telly! i was totally sucked in…it was subtitled and fabulous. the movie was called nights of cabiria and i was in love.

after a few drinks at the bar, we headed out to mon ami for brunch and we were all on time! woo hoo! we were seated on the patio and got down to business with our order. i claimed the diy bloody mary bar, matt ordered a ginormous st. germain drink, and we ordered a bunch of apps to start with. it was fun and yummy. we had a great time with everyone as usual. you can’t beat eating, drinking, and amusing conversations.

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[cheers! prosecco sangria…yum!]

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[matt’s tall drink of choice]

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[little brienne]

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[their lovely alfresco dining area]

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[lovely liz and her beautiful babe]

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[delicious scallops]

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[love these two]

after brunch, we all trekked back to liz and josh’s cars to head on out. one car went back to their house and the other car {us} went to a mall so josh could pick up stella’s birthday gift. while josh did that, we stopped by the yard house for {you guessed it!} another drink. heyyyyy, it’s vegas!

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[the yard house]

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[s’mores…you just can’t go wrong]

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[liz and josh’s pool]

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[stella, liz, josh, hc, matt, johann, and cheri]

we all then headed back to liz and josh’s house and ended up staying there the entire afternoon and evening until it was time for us to leave. liz cooked us dinner {tacos}, the boys hit the pool and drank whiskey, i hung out with the ladies, and in the end, we were all outside by the pool enjoying the warm evening.

it was another fabulous trip to vegas. hc and i had the best time hanging out with matt & johann. we love vacationing with them! we also loved that my brother and tashina were able to join us and we always love seeing liz and josh {notice the love theme here?!}. every single one of them are great people and we are so lucky to have them in our lives. we are so blessed!

xoxo

vegas part un

so, i couldn’t squeeze our vegas trip onto one post. it would have been waaaayyyyy too long! i think a two part story is just perfect. i must also say that i have been so behind on my posts. always too much to do with very little time!

we were so excited about our trip. we were looking forward to getting away and relaxing for a few days. it had been a bit since hc and i have had some time to ourselves {besides the random date nights – in which we need to get better at that too!}.

i’ll leave out the details but our flight there had a {not so great} layover so we spent our time at the bar {who doesn’t?!}, had a few cocktails and eats before we boarded our plane destined for sin city! during this time, i learned, from hc, how to properly order a ‘philly cheese’ steak sandwich and also they don’t call ’em philly cheese steaks either! you learn something new each day!

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[just me and my louis]

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[our view for a few hours]

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[wiz with]

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[cheers to layovers!]

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[here we go!]

once we arrived in vegas, it was a series of events that started our fabulous get away off on the wrong foot! first, our or i should say my luggage took forever to show up! after waiting quite a bit to retrieve it, we finally got a cab to the hotel. our check in was smooth but once we walked into our hotel room, it totally stunk like smoke! ugh. just awful! hc called downstairs to complain but he didn’t get any real answers and no real solve for the problem.

they sent a gentleman up from housekeeping and all he did was empty out an aerosol can of scented spray into our room which made it worse {i couldn’t even breathe}!!! argh, i was fed up! that was it…i walked downstairs and inquired about why we couldn’t switch our room! after a long exchange of words, we didn’t get our room exchange {due to the nature of the rental} but we did get a credit!

hc and i finally settled in after a very long day and woke up to a beautiful, sunny, warm fabulous day! we had rented a cabana {something we do every time!} and we were ready to soak in the very bright sun and consume many delicious libations!

hc secured the cabana and johann was already down there by the time i had gotten ready and joined them. as i was relaxing, johann and hc went upstairs to get matt to join us and the party ensued! after a few hours, huy and tashina finally joined us! the last several years we have visited vegas, huy has been able to join us…we are lucky he’s so close! just a few hours of driving from l.a. and bam! you’re in vegas!

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[my bro and his fiancé, tashina]

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[delicious lobster eggs benedict]

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[we loooooove our cabana time!]

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[goofing around…poor matt got splashed by huy]

after hanging out at the pool all day, some dark clouds rolled in and we decided to call it quits at the pool. we traipsed our way back to our hotel room and got ready to head out for the evening. we cruised around the hotels to get to caesar’s forum shops {my favorite place to shop while in vegas} to pick up a few things for matt.

our final destination that evening was at the pamplemousse restaurant right off the strip. it’s a quirky, mysterious, dated french eatery that matt’s sister, liz, recommended. our cab ride there was the most obscene ride i have ever taken! like ever! we clung on for our dear lives! the cab driver sped down the boulevard as if he was in the indy 500 and blew e v e r y red light he hit. i don’t mean a light that had just turned yellow to red but a full blown red light! i think he went through four in a row and then as we neared the restaurant, he realized it was on the left side and proceeded to stop in the middle of the three lane street {mind you, without a signal on to notify the other drivers we needed to turn} as cars flew by us! oh em gee. we, obvs, made it there unscathed by the care of God.

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[hanging at the grand gardens in bellagio]

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[love these two]

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[we looove starbucks! a chic looking starbucks in caesar’s forum]

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pamplemousse was vintage, chic, and it felt like we were straight out of a movie. keifer, our server was a riot. pure delight. he totally made our evening, our meal. his personality was quirky and amusing. he told us the history of the restaurant, we played vegas trivia with him, and he was absolutely sweet and kind. we ordered the five course meal and every morsel was delicious. keifer insisted that we ordered the belgium chocolat mousse…he said it is made in true french style! oh, it was absolutely fabulous. perfect and sweet.

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[getting ready to dine at pamplemousse]

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[cutest couples ever]

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[best crudites presentation]

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[palette cleanser // sorbet with champagne]

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[dining with the best: hc, liz, and josh]

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[seriously. to die for decor in this place. vintage, funky, quirky, so vegas]

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[pure french chocolate mousse // divine]

we loved, loved our experience at pamplemousse. it was entertaining, fun, delicious, and grande. we had the best time hanging out with the group and laughing with our fun server, keifer. i love exploring and reveling in such fun vegas finds!

xoxo

california: day 3

our last day in cali started out quick. our flight out was in the early afternoon, so that left us with only a few hours to do a few things before we had to head out to the airport.

first things first: eating. we wanted to go to a place called tart, but in typical fashion, huy and tashina got there before us and said it was a two hour wait…whaaaaa?! no thank you! i really wanted to try tart but we did not have the time to wait around nor would we have if we even had the time!

so, huy and tashina had us meet them at king’s road cafe. it is a cozy little restaurant, not very big…what you see down below in the photos is what you get. our tables were right next to the kitchen counter, so not a lot of space! the coffee was strong and delicious. the food was good, typical breakfast fare. tashina and huy ordered and ate first because tashina needed to get to a dress fitting within the next hour. did i mention that she is a dress designer & stylist?! so ah-maze and talented! check out her website here. oh, and i’ve said it before…my brother is an accomplished and incredible photographer, so together they are quite the powerful, artsy, brilliant couple!

anyhoo, after brunch, tashina left and we met our brother at the LACMA. waaaayyy cool. thuy and lan actually went there the night before…when kim and i were pooped out and wanted to shower and go to bed {yeessssss, we were tired}. they took some pretty cool pictures that night…obvs, a light installation is much cooler in the dark!

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[sneakers, flats, and taps oh my!]

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i really wanted to see the rock. huy and tashina told us a story about the rock the night before at dinner. i was totally intrigued. how it took so much money {$10 million in total} to transport this rock to it’s home, they literally took apart signals, utility lines, and cables to allow this rock to be transported to the museum because it was so big {it took up three highway lanes}. bananas.

of course we took a gazillion pictures of the rock and then we walked around towards the light installation. as i said before, pictures at night would have been cooler but taking some in the daylight sufficed!

i am so glad we stopped by the LACMA…it was the perfect ‘last day’ destination. i had such a good time exploring some unique artwork. i love art! there is always something so dark, inquisitive, mysterious, thought provoking, enigmatic about the artwork you see. it makes you curious about the madness behind it. it makes you excited to see people’s creativity, vision, and the final product that they conceive.

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[the rock]

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[it reminds of magritte, my favorite artist]

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[i’m so strong!]

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[the 340 ton boulder | michael heizer’s levitated mass]

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[ahhhhhh, green grass & the warm sun]

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[light installation at LACMA]

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[thuy hitting up the light installation the night before]

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and that’s a wrap! we had the most wonderful time celebrating thuy’s birthday in L.A. it was a pretty awesome weekend! i am very thankful we also were able to spend it with my brother and tashina. they totally made our weekend fabulous {thanks to them for taking us around!}.

haphaphappy birthday thuy!!!!!

xoxo

california: day 2

on our second day {the temperature was puurrrrrfect}, the sun was shining and i couldn’t wait to let it hit my skin {spf anyone?}! we got ready and headed out to our first destination of the day – bottega louie.

oh em gee. i was in heaven. i love, love this place. it encompassed everything i love: white, light, delicious food, coffee, ambience, interior design, pastries, gifts, candies, cakes, and macarons. beautiful, colorful, tasty, perfectly made macarons.

my sister kim had found this place and put it on our list of things to do. we arrived early and there wasn’t a wait. i couldn’t get past the first few feet, running directly into the macaron cases! they were being seated and i was still straggling around in the front.

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[beverly hilton hotel]

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[ready to parrrtayyy!]

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[we found olive’s street!]

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[diiiiirty sidewalk. ew.]

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[almost there! eeekkkk!]

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[so excited…the pastry cases alone had me in heaven!]

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[auhhhhhhhhh! nom nom]

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[beignet appetizer with a raspberry compote]

we sat down and ordered the beignets as an appetizer. i die. i ordered, as usual, an orange/grapefruit juice mix and a decaf americano. for my breakfast, i selected the belgium waffles and a side of bacon. natch. it was all soooo good. i loved the scene, the food, and the company.

after we ate, i went up to the cases of pastries to purchase a selection of macarons. i bought the birthday girl a box of pistachios and then myself, a mix of flavors to take home. i wanted to buy so much but i always have to calm myself down and get real. one person can’t eat two dozen macarons in a few days {well, to keep this figure, one can’t do that!}.

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[belgium waffles, seasonal berries, chantilly cream {vanilla bean: i die}, and vermont maple syrup]

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[i wanted one of everything]

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[decisions, decisions, decisions]

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[strawberry, raspberry, lemon, espresso, and vanilla bean]

after brunch, we met up with huy and tashina and they walked us around downtown L.A. i had the best time. there was so much to do and look at. the first place we hit was the bench from the movie, 500 days of summer. it was fenced off {no trespassing!} but that doesn’t stop us. at least not me. i’m such a rule breaker {or very antiauthority…it does get me in trouble sometimes}, so naturally, i jumped the fence. what?! the worst anyone could do…tell me not to be in there? well, i was willing to face that. it was fantastic. we snapped some great photos! i loved every moment of it!

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[500 days of summer]

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[whaaaa? you can never have too many designer purses on at once!]

after we visited the bench, we walked around the area. we stopped by a pretty water court, made a pit stop at MOCA {bought some great gifts for olive and the boys}, and spun by the disney concert hall. we snapped fun pics all along the way!

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[water court downtown L.A.]

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[frank gehry]

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[i love simple|cute|fun packaging]

i had to stop by the car {for a mommy pit stop} while the group hit up the bradbury building {a cool, antique space}. after visiting the building, they went into the grand central market. i met everyone there, it was sooo busy and crazy inside. we walked around for a bit, exploring before we narrowed it down to what we wanted to get. lan, thuy and i decided to get ice-cream {from mcconnell’s} while kim got tacos.

decadent. the ice cream was so smooth and creamy. it was filling and sweet! we sat around outside while we ate our food, enjoying the beautiful weather. ahhhhh, i can’t wait for summer in chi town!

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[grand central market]

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[wexler’s deli]

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[mcconnell’s icecream]

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after our escapade downtown, huy took us to the area where he usually bikes {up a mountain}. it was a crazy route there. we were on our way to the griffith park observatory but before we got there, we made a stop at a coffee shop. huy stated that we would totally love the quaint little coffee shop and he was right. yes…this is where we were shoulder to shoulder with beyoncé, solange, and little blue ivy. can you believe it?! as tashina put it, it was like finding a unicorn! yes it was!

they were with two other friends and their kids. i was standing right next to solange. i kept thinking to myself…wow, do i know her? why does this girl look so familiar?? duh! by the time i realized it was them, they were already walking down the path to the street! boo! i can’t believe i missed the photo op! after we got our coffee and hung out a bit at the coffee shop, we walked back to the car. this is where i realized they were still hanging out around the area! i was able to snap a few photos from afar but hey, it’s better than nothing!

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[the trails…the infamous spotting of beyonce and solange!]

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we drove another two miles to our next destination…it was cuckoo. the road was so tight and it was cray crowded but we finally made it to the griffith park observatory! the views were ah-mazing! now, i am scared of heights and being so high up freaked the sh*t out of me but it was so worth it. we nabbed some awesome photos, created some great memories, and checked another awesome view off our list!

we then headed back down and hit up another shopping center! glendale galleria and americana way. it was like a mini vegas. seriously. it felt like i was in vegas with the way they had built the buildings, all the lights shining all around us, and how crowded it was.

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[griffith park observatory]

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[our view of downtown L.A. from the griffith park observatory]

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[deluca’s italian deli at americana way]

we stopped for a snack before we headed out to dinner. yes, we did eat before we ate. hehe. anyhoo, we explored the malls for a bit and finally headed out to our final destination: the boiling crab. huy and tashina got there first and text us that the wait was two hours and forty-five minutes?!!!!! wtf. no thank you! they then suggested a place across the street called banh mi cali. yes, please. we were sooo in the mood to eat pho and bun bo. it totally hit the spot. no wait, delicious phood 😉 , and it was $5 and change a bowl. woot woot.

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[pho at banh mi che cali]

that was our last stop of the day. phew!!! what a whirlwind day. we squeezed in so much and it was perfect. i had the most wonderful day with my sisters, brother, and friends. we visited so many awesome places and i was a happy camper {well, i don’t camp and if i was camping, i probs wouldn’t be happy…so, maybe i should really say happy as a clam but are clams really happy??…okay, okay…i’ll stop analyzing now.}.

xoxo

california: day 1

the time had come to head out to l.a. we had booked this trip months ago and it came upon us in a blink of an eye.

i wasn’t ready. i hadn’t done much of anything to get ready. it was going to be a short trip {to celebrate my sister’s birthday!} over the weekend but i typically prepare, think about packing, and get random stuff {purchased} to go on vacation with but this time around i didn’t. i was having a little anxiety about leaving little miss olive. i knew i was going to miss her incredibly! nonetheless, i got myself ready {pedi and mani all set!}, packed my clothes, and went to bed. i was definitely ready for some warm weather, relaxation, and yummy eating to ensue!

we arrived in cali {golly, it felt like the longest flight evah?!}, rented our car, and skedaddled on our way to the beverly hilton hotel {thanks so much to thuy…she was the driver the whole time!}. we relaxed a bit before we headed out to the grove. we freshened up and went on our way. it was sooooo lovely out. the weather was fantastic. sunny and warm. ahhhhh. i was loving it!

we got to the grove and went straight to the farmer’s market! we were so hungry! we walked around to weigh our options and decided on some delicious gyros. i love the farmer’s market. it’s so quaint and fun. there are so many shops and tasty places to eat at. i also couldn’t get over the beautiful weather. i was in heaven sitting outside, all toasty, eating my food. after we noshed, we walked around a bit to get something sweet. i bought toffee for my dad {although we snuck in a few bites}, thuy and lan grabbed some doughnuts, and kim purchased a coffee. perfect.

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[the ubiquitous cali shot]

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[i always fancy pastries]

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[the original farmer’s market // we are so into it…well, at least me!]

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[yum]

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[these toffee’s were divine!]

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[of course i had to take a pic of bennett’s ice cream shop!]

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after eating, we walked the grove. we stopped into a few shops…i needed to get a few errands done. it’s funny how i live at a mall at home but yet i never stay long enough to pick up anything that i need! i’d rather get home to my family than stay and shop. so, i took advantage of this moment to get some things i needed to get and get done.

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[the grove: coffee and pastries will always do]

we shopped until huy and tashina arrived at the mall. we all met at morel’s for dinner. our usual stomping ground when in cali. it was soooo great to see them! i was excited to spend some time with them while we were here. we ordered up a storm, toasted to thuy, and drank our night away.

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[face timing the boys at morel’s]

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[cheers to being in l.a. for thuy’s birthday!]

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[charcuterie plate]

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[i wear my sunglasses at night…especially when i eat a burger]

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[left only! directing traffic…]

our evening was short lived. although we were out until eleven o’clock {hey…that’s one o’clock chicago time!}. we were spent. traveling always takes a toll on you! we said our goodbyes and headed back to the hotel.

it was a pretty good first day! we had a great time exploring the farmer’s market, getting around town, and eating a tasty dinner with our brother and tashina at morel’s! until tomorrow {next post 😉 }.

xoxo

spring break part 2

the second half of our vacation was filled with rain, intermittent sunshine, and sporadic warm temperatures.

on wednesday, after a homemade breakfast by the hubby himself, we decided to head back to the outlet mall. just hc and myself. last time we were there, it was a bit difficult to shop with all the kids. so we wanted to head back to really take a look at stuff, take our time, and get a chance to try things on. it was a lovely day and it was very nice to get a chance to spend some alone time together.

i got olive dressed and left her with gramma and papa to have a day at kiddie land! she had a great time with them while we were away having some fun adult time!

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[olive wearing corduroys due to the cooler temps and pretending to be shy]

after some shopping, we came back to relax. everyone kind of did their own thing that day, which was a change of pace. later on that afternoon, hc and i went on a walk with olive and jane. something we haven’t been able to do at all with the long winter that we have had!

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[a lovely, lovely walk on the beach…olive loves the ocean!]

after a stroll on the beach, we came back and i did an outfit change for miss olive. she had to get dressed up for her first time at a bar! her outfit du jour was a gift from grace marie herself!

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[sporting the outfit gracie gave her during the heintz’s baby shower]

our restaurant of choice was duffy’s. home of “world famous” burgers. a dirty little bar joint. it had lovely plastic chairs and bleached cleaned table tops. it had a very simple menu, burgers and chips…no fries! i ordered the mushroom swiss burger and a side of potato salad. yummy…but i wouldn’t call them world famous. i’d call them good burgers.

olive was a hit at the bar. a lot of the patrons just adored her, how could you not love a baby in a cute outfit like that?!

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[duffy’s tavern…world famous burgers]

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[olive’s first time at a bar! she was most interested in sophie]

after dinner, we came back to the house to…guess what?! yesss, relax. we got comfy and chilled. olive was so relaxed that she found it super funny pooping while sitting on daddy’s lap! so classic and i’m so glad we snapped a pic of that special moment!

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[olive literally pooping on daddy’s lap with a very content smile on her face]

on thursday, it was olive’s four month birthday! yay! papa always insists on having cake on olive’s special day. so that morning, we had a breakfast coffee cake to celebrate! i also dressed the little peanut up and shot her four month photos! i love my cutie pie.

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[olive’s four month photo on vacay]

this day, we had tickets to the pittsburgh pirates and new york yankees pre-season game, thanks to aunt wendy.

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[exhausted from her all day birthday celebration at kiddie land with grandma and grandpa]

it was raining from the moment we woke up, but we were on track to go to the game. we bundled up {it was much colder than i thought…such a bummer since we were going to be sitting outside! the weather report lied to us! it was suppose to be 70 and sunny!} and headed out to the field.

we got there and right away, we had to get our hot dogs and beer! after noshing on our bites, we headed into the stands to find our seats. we sat there in the rain, watched them play ball, and ate a lot of junk food. an american classic outing. after a few hours, we decided to head out but not before we perused the souvenirs shops.

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[me and gracie trying to keep warm and dry at the pirates and yankees game]

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[classic – baseball and hotdogs]

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[rich and grace]

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[go cubs go!]

we then ran into an area where they were selling memorabilia and auctioning off baseball souvenirs. missy was eyeing a ryne sandberg autographed framed photos and rich was interested in a ron santos signed baseball.

the starting bid for the ball was small, so rich decided to bid on it. missy decided not to buy the ryne sandberg frame so hc and i decided to buy it for her! it would be an early birthday/christmas gift! i snuck off to buy it while rich led the group the other way. when they came back to the memorabilia area, we surprised her with it!

rich won the bid on the baseball, missy had her ryne signed frame, and we were ready to go home!

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[missy and rich attending the pirates and yankees game and going home with cubs memorabilia // an autographed ryne sandberg and an autograph ron santo ball]

once we got home, we were inundated with fun stories of olive’s great day with gramma and papa! they ‘took’ olive to ‘kiddie land’ {aka she rode ‘roller coaster’ rides on a blanket pulled across the floor! so cute!}.

missy, jane, and wendy decided to go for a walk and then sit outside at the bar and have a drink. i debated on going with them but decided against it. it was a bit too chilly for me to sit outside…walking outside, yes, but not sitting. so they left for their walk, while the kids, rich, and papa were at home.

rich and i decide ourselves to go on our own walk with little miss olive. it was so lovely! we had such a great time walking through the neighborhood and checking out the local shops {knick knacks, surf shops, restaurants}. we found some fun ornaments, magnets, and shoes to buy! it was so awesome to walk around, enjoy the weather, and spend some alone time with hc and olive!

while we were at the surf shop, hc found these awesome minnie mouse type sunglasses for olive! when we got home and walked through the door, i called out to jane. she came walking over and yelled in joy how cute olive looked in her new sunglasses! i agree…she is so cute!

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[i wear my minnie mouse sunglasses at night]

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[look at those cheeks!]

instead of heading out to a restaurant to eat for dinner, we decided to order food from skinny’s. after placing our order, missy and hc drove over to pick up our food. it was quite yummy but you definitely don’t stay skinny eating from skinny’s!

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[dinner from skinny’s]

on our last full day of vacation, again the weather was not good beach weather, so we decided to check out the northern part of the island. i was super excited when jane presented to me that morning the onesie that i gave them for mother’s day last year! she had brought it with her on vacation! i gave her that shirt on that celebratory day last year to announce i was pregnant with little miss olive! i was so excited for her to wear it…it was her size, perfect timing!

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[gramma brought the onesie i gave them. it was a baby announcement that i was pregnant, a gift for her on mother’s day! it looks perfect on olive!]

we drove up north to anna maria pier {which took 7 minutes from our beach house!} and walked the town and headed our way towards the pier. it was quite lovely walking it! after the pier, we found a restaurant to eat at, the waterfront.

olive was high maintenance during our lunch! she needed her diaper changed and there was no changer in the bathroom! that is so annoying! so hc and i walked around the corner {we were eating outside}, and put our portable changer on the sidewalk and changed the peanut! after that, she needed a feeding! so as usual, i fed her while i ate. we like to eat together 🙂

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[a walk on the pier]

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after walking the pier and eating lunch, we wanted to walk the area…there were a lot shops to look at! half of our group got tired out. so jane, missy, and i decided to stay and continue to shop. we had a really great time! there were a lot of cute island shops to look at.

the last store we looked at, i found some really, really cute stuff for olive! there was this darling animal swaddle blanket from angel dear. it was their farm yard swaddle…so charming! i had to have it for her! i also purchased this beautiful wood puzzle toy for her. i am obsessed with wood toys and especially this brand of toys. it reminded us of a banyan trees in florida!

after shopping the town, we headed back to the car and took the short car ride home to the house. olive was up and doing some tummy time…isn’t she’s so darling?! before our hodge podge of a dinner {clearing out the pantry before we headed home meant a mixed bag of goodies for supper!}, hc and i decided to go for a final walk around the island. we strapped olive in her carseat, took out the stroller, and enjoyed a very serene, beautiful walk around the area {being at the beach and ocean is so gorgeous!}.

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[olive doing some tummy time…so adorbs]

when we got back, we finished packing for our trip back home and snacked on very random food for dinner! we woke up very, very early the next day and packed up the rest of our goods and headed to the airport. so sad…bye bye anna maria island, it was a very good time!

olive was a doll on the plane ride back! she fed, she slept, and she cooed. when we landed, it was home sweet home chicago! annnddd it was cold! yuck!

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[olive on the plane ride home…so cute!]

it was quite bittersweet, we were so happy to be back and sad to not be on vacation anymore! it was a wonderful week, lots of relaxing, shopping, and exploring…the beach and ocean were amaze. thanks dick and jane for an amazing get away! we love you both so much!

ta da! that wraps up our spring break trip! until next year!

xoxo

spring break part 1

woooooo! we were so excited for our spring break vacation! after this very long, very cold, very awful winter, a getaway to a warm destination was in order!

the locale of choice was anna maria island, off of florida. i am thankful to my in laws for coordinating this whole vacation! olive is a lucky gal to have pretty awesome grandparents who love her so much!

we headed out on saturday morning {4:30 am wake up call anyone?}, off to the airport we went in our pimp escalade limo ride. olive was riding in style! we got to the airport quickly and checked ourselves in. getting through security involved a lot more than we thought. it being the first time we have traveled with olive, we weren’t quite sure what the process looked like. not only did we have to do our usual thing {shoes, laptop, coats, etc.}, we had to break down the entire stroller, take off a wheel, flip the carseat upside down, and i had to walk thru the detector with olive and then get my hands wiped down for any dangerous chemicals! nutty. well, we made it through with no problems {no crazy chemicals on my hands…phew. i didn’t have to brawl with the tsa!} and we merrily went on our way to the gate {way to vacation!} . i immediately was on a mission for coffee. starbucks and food was in order!

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[olive’s first time in the airport // breakfast at berghoff cafe]

we waited in quite a long line at berghoff cafe. rich ordered an egg and bacon croissant sandwich with a side of hash for the both of us. we ate and waited for the rest of our party to arrive. once everyone was there, we settled ourselves into the terminal to wait for our boarding time. oh boy…olive started to get fussy. it was past her feeding time and i really wanted to feed her during take off. our timing was a little off and while we were waiting in line to board, she had a melt down! i saw all the passengers eyes widen as this baby of mine shrieked so loud! oy. once we neared the plane, though, she actually calmed down. phew!

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[family selfie]

i got to feeding olive right away. she actually fell asleep during take off and was quite calm during the whole flight. only for a few minutes did she fuss but then calmed down. woo! it was a great, non-fussy flight with little miss olive. what a good little traveler!

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[olive representing the cubs // take off]

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[sleepy olive]

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[cutie pie waiting for daddy to rent a car]

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[the scary road over the water]

we landed and were so excited to finally be in warm weather! it was warm and a bit humid. we got our car rented and started en route to our destination to the beautiful house on the beach!

the palm trees are such a treat. a novelty for us after a looooong winter in chicago! buuutttt after experiencing florida traffic and how cray cray they drive {i mean seriously cray}, i definitely can say…i wouldn’t want to live that everyday!

we finally arrived at our destination and got to explore the house. it was spacious and new. i loved our bedroom…it was big, had it’s own ensuite, a large flat screen t.v., and a lovely veranda! we were steps away from the beach and the house also had it’s own private pool! sweet!

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[olive and aunt missy matching each other and the couch // us checking out the house]

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[the beachy fun house decor // relaxing by the private pool]

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[this was our walkway from the front of the house!]

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[checking out the scenery // palm trees usa]

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[we love our selfies]

the most exciting part about arriving in florida?! meeting up with olivia and aaron. since they’ve relocated to fort lauderdale, we haven’t gotten a chance to visit them in the sunshine state. they timed their travels to match ours, they got there just a tad earlier than us {due to our unnecessary detour to the cracker barrel…long story not worth sharing}.

olivia texted me that they were chillin’ at a bar across the street from the house we were renting. she insisted that she would she us pull into the house. so, as we pulled in…i looked around and saw only houses. olivia and aaron were no where to be found. after we got inside and looked around, i texted her, wondering where they were at. sooooo typical olivia, they were at the wrong location. i have no idea where she got the address she had! they weren’t far from us and soon they arrived at the house! yay!

we spent the day basically chillin’. our only big mission for the day was to grocery shop. there was a local grocery store called publix nearby. hello spring break! it was a madhouse there. literally. it seemed like half the island was there stocking up on groceries! we fought our way through and survived. hundreds of dollars later and two full carts filled with food, we were on our way back home.

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[selfie time // bruce the cutest puppy ever]

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[hc and aaron holding their babies]

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[olive’s curly q hair, thanks florida humidity!]

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[olive’s first time at the beach!]

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[the cute couple before they leave back to ft. lauderdale // as you can tell, olive is super happy]

the rest of the weekend, we walked the beach, we explored the island, lunched outside, and spent time together with this great duo…the best news yet?! olivia and aaron are moving back to chicago! woo hoo! see ya guys in a few weeks!

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[aunt wendy consoling olive]

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[neidre and olive…she was in desperate need of a nap]

right after olivia and aaron left, hc’s old friend from school stopped by to visit. neidre lives in tampa; she drove in and spent the late afternoon and evening with us! we drank wine, chitchatted, and caught up on life’s happenings. neidre is such a great gal! we love her! the last time we saw her was when we visited her brother, jason, in miami. that was an amazing trip as well {sunshine, beach time, and awesome weather}! one of the days, while in miami, we drove half way from our destinations and met neidre and her beautiful daughter, khaliya, for dinner. that was a great time together, it was my first time meeting neidre and khaliya and we had such a blast with them.

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[blast from the past // miami ’10]

we cooked in and spent a very lovely evening together. after many hours of drinking, noshing, and non stop yakking, neidre decided to head out and home. so bittersweet. it was so awesome to see her and so sad she was leaving. it was a marvelous time spent together.

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[hanging out with this lovely lady]

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[super excited to be shopping]

since the weather wasn’t quite beach weather {bummer because we had a house on the beach!!!}, we did a lot of shopping. we explored possible shopping venues around the area. on monday, we went to breakfast at peach’s and then took off for the outlet mall right outside anna maria island. hc and i had a great time shopping around. there were a few stores where we found some great stuff in. the whole family enjoyed perusing the mall. good or bad news but everyone found something to buy!

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[her pensive looks]

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[bad news bear…a stop at wendy’s was no buenos! my favorite comfy target pants!]

on tuesday, we explored the southern part of the island. it turned out to be a very sunny day {although it was a very rainy morning}! we had a great time walking around the area. i found some great smelling body butters and lotions at a place called naples. of course, when we stumbled upon a macaron shop, i had to get a dozen flavors!

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[relaxing in her stroller ride around the island // yummy macarons]

after shopping all afternoon, we came back to the house to relax. rich, grace, and daniel hit the beach. olive and i tried to sit out there but it was so windy, it felt like the sand was exfoliating our faces, so that was no. we headed back into the house to chill while rich and the kids played out at the beach.

a little bit later, before we went to dinner and after the beach, rich, jane, and olive went for a walk {a favorite activity of ours since we wanted to take advantage of this weather!}. it was a bit chilly {for florida!}, so we bundled olive up in a cute little hoodie. so adorbs.

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[getting ready for her walk on the beach with daddy]

for dinner, aunt wendy wanted to go to the sandbar restaurant but it turned out to be a debacle. the wait was one hour and forty five minutes! no way with the babes could we wait that long for a table! so we ended up down the street at a place called sharkey’s.

it was a tasty place…i ordered the fish and chips {tilapia!} and it was delicious. after dinner, we headed home to relax {the theme of our vacation!}.

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[having dinner at sharky’s]

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[selfie at sharkey’s}

so, there you have it! the first half of our island vacation! lots of shopping, a lot of relaxing, plenty of walks on the beach, too much noshing, and loads of quality time together as a family {the most important part!}.

part deux coming soon my lovies!

xoxo