Monday, February 19, 2018

Turks & Caicos

We are back from paradise! Even though we sat on the beach for 4 days straight the trip went by at warp speed, and in the blink of an eye we were back home to a fallen tree, a sink pipe leak, power outage overnight, an urgent care visit and two wild toddlers (who we missed!). Reality. But let's get back to talking about paradise...

When we planned out our trip we strategically chose to vacation during the school/work week so we didn't lose any weekend time with our kiddos. So on Monday morning we dropped the kids off at daycare and then headed straight to the airport. Ms. Jamie took it from there and had a great time with the kids, allowing us to sneak away care-free. She's the best.


We arrived to Turks & Caicos late in the afternoon and a quick cab ride later we were welcomed with cold towels and rum punch at Seven Stars Resort. The resort was so beautiful and the location was perfect. We could walk or bike to tons of restaurants, the grocery store, other resorts, etc.  Our suite was gorgeous too and since we had a little kitchen, we took the advice of others and made a quick bike ride to the grocery store to stock up on snacks and booze after settling in. 

Even though the grocery store was a football field away, we almost died trying to ride our bikes on the opposite side of the road. There are no traffic lights on the island and only roundabouts, so it took a little bit to adjust. But we made it!

For dinner we went to Buguloos, a beautiful beach-side restaurant where we both devoured our first conch dishes of the trip. After dinner each night we had cocktails and cozied up next to the fire at The Deck, Seven Stars beach-side lounge.

On Tuesday we slept in before heading to breakfast at Seven and then down to the beach for the day. The saltwater pool at the resort was really pretty but we never spent anytime there because we couldn't peel ourselves away from the unbelievable ocean view. We spent the entire day on the beach -- me reading under the umbrella in a comfy beach lounger and Matt laying in the sun...which later that evening he would realize he forgot to apply his FACE. He was burnt to a crisp and spent the rest of the trip in a t-shirt under the umbrella. Lesson learned, Matt. Although he does something like this every summer so actually the lesson is never learned. 

For dinner we walked to Coco Bistro. This restaurant is very popular and books up fast so by the time I thought to make reservations a few weeks ago there was only a 5:30 pm reservation available...and I totally understand why. The palm grove ambiance and the food were both incredible. Matt ordered the seared tuna and I ordered the salmon. We both ate every last bite. After dinner we walked across the parking lot to Cocovan, an airstream lounge created by the Coco Bistro owners. We had another cocktail and ordered churros for dessert which were the best churros I've ever had in my life. The deep-fried fritters were coated in cinnamon sugar and served with a dark chocolate dipping sauce and vanilla ice cream. After dessert we returned to the resort to lounge at The Deck.



Happy Valentine's Day to us! We slept in, ate breakfast at Seven and spent the gorgeous day laying on the beach where I plowed through The Woman in Cabin 10, which I loved.

For lunch we didn't want to leave our view so we ate at The Deck! This beachside restaurant offers a gorgeous beach view, comfortable lounge seating, the service is excellent, the ambiance is perfect and the food was absolutely delicious. We loved the fish tacos! We spent a lot of time here throughout the trip and got to know and love all the bartenders. They were all so great and took amazing care of us. 

We walked to Coyaba for dinner. Hands down, our favorite dinner of the trip. The ambiance of this restaurant is so romantic, the service was excellent and the food was the best. We both ordered specials of the day. Matt ordered ravioli stuffed with the perfect trio of crab, conch and lobster. I ordered the fish of the day special which was mahi mahi! The presentation was amazing and the taste was even better. It came with slow roasted capers, stuffed zucchini and rice. This place deserves all of the awards. I can't wait to come back here.

After dinner we stopped at Infiniti for late night cocktails and dessert. This place is so chic and they had beautiful live music. In fact, I'd say this was the best ambiance we experienced. We sat there long enough to want dessert so we ordered the Chocolate Gourmandize which was basically the most exquisite lava cake with shaved banana, chocolate salt and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It was spectacular.

We slept in, ate breakfast at Seven and parked it on the beach. That afternoon we took a short bike ride before deciding it was too hot to go any further and came back to the beach. 

For our last dinner of the trip we decided to stay on property and go to Seven. Matt ordered the duck and I ordered the lobster salad. Both were delicious. After dinner we claimed our favorite sofa in front of the fire at The Deck for cocktails.


Since it was our last day we tried not to sleep in too late. We grabbed our very last delicious breakfast from Seven and squeezed in a few hours of beach time before packing up and checking out.

Our flight wasn't until late afternoon so we decided to grab lunch at Da Conch Shack to see what the heck all the hype was about! Well folks, I'm here to tell ya that this place truly is a gem. Don't leave the island without stopping for one last bite of conch here. 
It was hard to say goodbye to the island but we promised to come back. This trip was exactly what Matt and I needed and we felt very grateful to have had the opportunity to take this trip, to know our kids were being loved on hard by Ms. Jamie while we were away, and for ALL the laughs and the moments that Matt and I shared uninterrupted.

*{not sponsored, just good advice} I would be remiss not to mention how wonderful our travel advisor, Christine Serio, was in helping us design this dream trip and keep us organized. I found her highly recommended in a local mommy Facebook group and she was excellent to work with -- very responsive, helped us pick our destination, select our resort, etc. If you're looking to book a trip, I highly recommend her. It's no cost to use her and she has tons of connections and travel knowledge.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Five on Friday + OOO!

Well it's been a whirlwind of week over here. The past two weeks I've been traveling a lot and work has been busy, busy, busy -- but very excited about all my projects and initiatives!

one. As the primary bedmaker, Matt officially put his foot down on me bringing home any more pillows, so our master bed is finally complete! And I love it SO SO SO much. Details and sources linked below! A full master bedroom post to come soon!
Bed from Craig's List (similar -- love this) // Dresser // Nightstands // Coverlete // Euro Pillows // Velvet Pillow Covers + Inserts // Lamp Base + Shade // Rug // Navy Pillow (monogrammed separately) // Book Page Wreath

two. Fresh Flower Delivery on a Budget! I hope I am about to blow your mind as much as mine was blown when I recently can send fresh flowers from AMAZON. WHAT?!?!!? I learned about this in a local Facebook mommy group earlier this week when I was searching for a quality online florist to send a bouquet to a friend. Several moms said they had huge success ordering this bouquet and this bouquet a few times. The mommy reviews raved that the $40 bouquet arrives in bud form and overnight shipping is free! Definitely keep this in mind for Valentine's Day!

But after all that, I ended up ordering from The Bouqs Co. because I had my heart set on this bouquet (and I had a $15 off promo code), but I am definitely trying Amazon next time.

three. We recently ditched the overpriced snip at crewcuts for a real barber for Thomas. Matt is pretty particular about hair and was super impressed with Colonial Barber Shop in Myers Park (recommended by another boy mama)! There are definitely no airplanes to sit in or toys in the corner, but the cut is meticulous (trimmers, scissors, etc.) and we will definitely go back! Highly recommend if you're local!
four. A long sleeve Free People top I have been eye balling for the entire season finally went on sale and I scooped it up in two colors and love it so much. I tried to get a good picture of the split back but I couldn't do the top justice. When it comes back in stock, I highly recommend grabbing one!
five // A sweet blog reader gifted me a custom makeup palette from Maskara Beauty. I hadn't heard of Maskara Beauty before so I was excited to play around on the site and discover the endless possibilities of makeup combinations to create the perfect palette. My favorite item in my palette is the Dahlia blush! It is gorgeous!
OOO! At 5 pm today I am turning on my out of office for next week! Matt and I are heading to paradise for a few days to take a break from laundry, toddler tantrums and insane workloads. It's actually kind of crazy because we booked this trip back in July when I was in a very, very bad place. At that time we were planning dad's funeral and anticipating a slew of upcoming painful holidays and occasions. And if you've ever lost or are losing a parent, you know the toll it takes on your marriage. So Matt and I decided that 2018 would be our year to reset and that would start with a trip away together. Well, that trip is HERE...and guess what? SO IS DAD! My heart is so full and happy to go on this trip and come home knowing I'll get to see my dad just a few weeks later.
We are heading to Grace Bay in Turks & Caicos. Restaurants on our radar include Da Conch Shack, Somewhere Cafe, Infiniti, Coco Bistro, Coyoba, Seven and Cocovan. Let me know if you have any tips or recommendations!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

25 Year Milestone in Paradise

I hope I can get through this post without tears welling up in my eyes for the 100th time in the past few days. Back in July, when the doctors estimated that Dad had up to 2-3 months with us, we never expected him to make it to Labor Day, or Mom's birthday, or Halloween, or Thanksgiving & his 60th Birthday, or Christmas, or MLK Weekend and and his 25th wedding anniversary. Technically it's on February 20th, but Ian, Lindsey and I gifted them a surprise a little early -- a  night away at the beach. Dad has been anxious to see the bright blue ocean and relax his toes in warm white sand so my siblings and I went on a mission to make this dream come true for mom and dad's upcoming anniversary.

So I set out to find the perfect resort that was on the beach, within a few hours from Orlando and wheelchair friendly. After lots of research and Trip Advisor reviews,  I landed on the perfect spot -- Sheraton Sand Key Resort in Clearwater Beach, quickly booked a room and whipped up this cute card that Lindsey wrapped up and brought over for mom and dad to open. 
They were totally surprised and excited.

A few days before mom and dad's arrival I emailed the resort to explain dad's situation and politely request that a beach wheelchair be available for the day. I also included a picture of our family so the resort wouldn't think it was spam (which I later learned happens a lot!). Within a few hours I received a call from Jennifer from Sand Key who was so excited for mom and dad to spend their anniversary at Sand Key. She assured me that dad would have access to a golf cart anytime he wished and that they would take the best care of him.

I was also really worried about their room view and dad's comfort level being away from home. In the event that dad wasn't feeling well enough to sit on the beach, I really wanted to make sure he could at least see the beach from his balcony and not a view of the parking lot. Well, this is the view from the balcony that mom sent me after arriving to their room.
I meannnnnn, there are no words. They also surprised them with a welcome fruit and cheese board. After getting settled they made their way down to the pool bar for lunch and drinks.

But the best surprise came when Jennifer asked me to have my parents meet her in the lobby at 5:45 pm. She had the golf cart waiting for them to take them down to the beach...for a private sunset dinner.

I know. I knowwwwwww. I've sobbed over this picture she sent me like 12 times already. 
I was worried dad wouldn't be able to get into the golf cart but he did! And what a huge blessing it was that he was feeling well enough to make it down!
Every single detail that was put into their dinner had me crying like a baby. When I received this picture from Jennifer of their table I melted into another puddle of tears. First of all, dinner on the sunset...with the most gorgeous tablescape of fresh flowers, shells and the family picture I had included on my original email that SHE printed and framed!! But the part that made me the weakest at the knees was that blue bottle. She went out of her way to find a special glass bottle for mom and dad to scoop up some sand to remember this trip forever. Someone pass another box of tissues...
Is this not the sweetest picture EVER? Tears, tears, tears.
For dinner, their private chef recommended the crab stuffed grouper which they both ordered and LOVED.
It was the most perfect evening for mom and dad and I honestly couldn't be more thankful to have found the Sand Key Resort, for dad feeling well enough to make the trip, for "meeting" Jennifer and for this magical experience that mom and dad were able to have.

Happiest (early) 25th wedding anniversary, mom & dad!!!!

**This post is NOT sponsored in ANY way. The Sheraton Sand Key is seriously just THAT amazing.
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