Mauruuru French Polynesia!!!


I seriously think I have enough pictures and stories to share that I could spend the rest of the year blogging ONLY about our honeymoon to the French Polynesian Islands!!!  It was magical for soo many reasons.  Number 1 is obvious…spending almost 2 straight weeks with your newish husband who also happens to be your best friend is unreal!  And then together being able to be completely selfish with your time, doing only what makes the two of you happy…priceless!  Now throw in…beautiful beaches, friendly people, amazing weather, exciting culture, and mouth watering food…and you’ve got one happy couple!


Here’s a quick overview of our trip.  We visited three islands…Moorea, Tahaa, and Bora Bora (in that order).  I know, your next question is which was our favorite?  We thought about this too and honestly can’t pick just one.  Each island had it’s own personality and charm and I would have hated to miss any one of them.


What to do…

So, if like me you thought that the islands were all about relaxation and laying about, you were only half right.  The relaxation is guaranteed!  The staff is so incredible that our entire trip was effortless!  And you can lay around if you want to (trust me…I read 3 1/2 books!), but you can also kayak, SUP, snorkel, swim, paddleboat, and explore.

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We spent a huge amount of time in the water, by the water, and on the water!  There are also plenty of excursions to choose from (jet skiing, hiking, boating, ATVs, etc.) that you can do on your own or in groups.  We did a super cool jet ski tour along the north coast of Moorea, exploring the bays before stopping for a dip with the sting rays and sharks and then lemonade at the Motu.





Eats and Drinks…

To rehydrate and refuel, there were plenty of options.  The French influence on cuisine was apparent from the start of the day with crepes, croissants, and jams.  Not to mention fresh eggs cooked how you like them and plenty of other options.  And always served with fresh juice…the pineapple was incredible!  Even the restaurant views were amazing!


Lunch was a mix of options, usually delicious sandwiches and a glass of wine : )


And sometimes a second…or a festive, local bevvie!





For dinner, there was plenty of freshly caught fish and French specialties.


It was some of the best food I’ve EVER had!!!

And to Relax…

We read, did yoga, swam in our plunge pool and the big pools, hit up happy hour (sometimes in the pool), napped in the sun, took boat rides, fed the fish, laid in the hammock, played cards, took a million selfies, met new friends, got a couples massage, and enjoyed all the Polynesian culture.  I told you there was a lot of relaxation options!






And the views…





…Were breathtaking!!!

Fingers crossed, we get to visit these incredible islands again one day!  We were lucky to have friends who helped us plan our trip, so if you are thinking of visiting the area or want to know any details from our trip, reach out and let me know!


Our tans may be fading, but our memories are not…

Mauruuru! (Thank you!)

Ia Orana!!!

Ia Orana (pronounced yo-rah-nah)

Which must be said in an adorable sing songy voice!


This post was supposed to be done and ready to go while we were gone, but I just wasn’t that pulled together and organized.  Now that we are back and working through some serious jet lag (3 flights in a 24 hours…or something like that), I have a few minutes to update the pictures and finish the post.  And tell you that our trip was absolutely incredible.  It exceeded all our expectations and we loved EVERY minute!


Leaving our last island, Bora Bora…

January Goals

Exercise Often– Goal Met!  Prior to vacation, I hit the weights and got my runs in.  Best part was having the hubs by my side!


And we had tons of opportunities to exercise in the Ocean!  I finally got to try stand up paddle boarding!


Keep my Eating On Pointe– Once we got past the fry party on the first day of the year, I did a good job of keeping my meals clean!

Get Organized (for our trip and 2016)- So I was totes organized for our trip, or at least as organized as one can be when heading half way around the world to a place they’ve never been.  As for 2016…well, that’s another story.  2016 bucket list to come…

Create and Appreciate Expected and Unexpected Adventures- We made every day memorable and amazing on our trip!  We enjoyed the views and relaxation, the food, and all the cultural experiences.  Believe it or not, our trip went slowly, which was fantastic!


February Goals

Change my name…Ugh!  I just have to change 2 letters and I know it will be a HUGE headache!

Cook some new recipes…we loved the Polynesian cuisine and can’t wait to try to replicate some recipes at home.

Create a budget and bucket list!

Maintain my vacation Zen!


Honeymoon updates coming…if you want them (or haven’t seen my Insta pics). 

How was your first month of 2016?  What are you goals for this month?


I’m Baaack!


But I’m leaving again…


Off to Nashville on Friday for a girl’s weekend!  Can’t wait!

In between – It’s super busy! 

Let’s see…there’s unpacking, Cooper loving, laundry, a 5 mile run (yesterday), paperwork, tea drinking, wine drinking, free latte drinking, cleaning, repacking, hot yoga (this morning), and OH YEA, celebrating my #34thBirthday TODAY!


I can’t believe it’s been one year since I wrote my 33 Things to do While I’m 33 post.  Rereading it now, it does seem rather ambitious, but it warms my heart to see all that I’ve done this year that’s on the list.  What an incredible 365 days!  I’m looking forward to another exciting and special year ahead!


Until then…enjoy an early #tbt pic from my quick cruise to CocoCay this past weekend!

See you next week!

Florida Weekend Photo Dump

I’ve been to Florida a bunch of times since I started blogging.  Each trip has some of the same and always adds something new and exciting.  Like bumping into one of my readers at the airport before 6am…ha ha!




Hope you enjoy these pictures of family fun in the sunshine (aka photo dump)!




I already miss that sunshine!


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Hope your weekend involves mojitos and sand between your toes!

Tag Along in Tel Aviv

We only had about 24 hours in this city, voted the 3rd most interesting by Lonely Planet in 2011, but we packed in some history lessons, current events, beach time, and night life.   Tag along for the highlights…


The Beach















Independence Hall











Rabin Square










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Lunch at Hippo

Serving Sabich on Lafa or Pita (YUM!)










Best lunch EVER!





Next Stop…Jerusalem!



Friday and Florida

Ah, Friday!  Finally an evening to be home before 8pm, have dinner with the BOY, and sit my exhausted butt on the couch to watch Pitch Perfect.  Oh, and blog about our weekend trip to SarasotaOne week ago, the BOY and I boarded a plane for the sunshine state.  We had a slight complication as the BOY got a flat tire on the way to the airport.  Luckily, we were close enough to swing back home to switch cars.




However, my car (having spent the night of the snow storm outside) was buried under thick, heavy snow.  We hurried to clean off my car and move our luggage.  I hate feeling late for the airport, so I definitely had a knot in my stomach as I drove us to O’hare.




We made it no problem and a 20 minute delay seemed like nothing compared to all of the cancelled fights throughout the country so I felt thankful to be boarding the plane.  I alternated between reading and snoozing while sipping on my Starbucks.  We landed, caught a cab to our hotel which was only 10 minutes away, and checked in. 


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As we walked into the hotel, we were greeted by two of my close high school friends.  I love how life works out that way!  They were heading out to the beach as we were heading up to our room to change out of boots and winter gear and into shorts, tshirts, and sunglasses.  We walked a few blocks into downtown Sarasota which had plenty of options for lunch.  It wasn’t until we were seated outside at a little café ordering lunch and a cocktail that I finally exhaled and FELT like we were on vacation.  I knew it was going to be a relaxing few days!




We had a nice mix of down time and wedding festivities ahead of us.  I spent Friday afternoon catching up with friends by the pool at our hotel.






By 5pm, I was eager to get in a run before sunset.  I laced up my tennies and headed for town.  Last minute I decided to turn onto a large, steep bridge over to Bird Key making my way all the way to St. Armand’s Circle.




I made it home super sweaty (when was the last time I ran in the heat?) and with enough time to shower and watch the sun set from our balcony.






The BOY made us a dinner reservation at a place on the Marina overlooking some ginormous yachts.  We both love seafood and Sarasota is definitely the place for fresh fish.  Afterwards, we attended a cocktail hour hosted by the bride and groom.  It was wonderful to catch up with some old friends, and we were home and in bed early after a long day.  Saturday night was the wedding, but we had the day to spend at the beach.  We hitched a ride to Siesta Key to bury our toes in the white sand.




We found the perfect sand bar to wade in the crisp water looking for seashells.  After which, we lounged in the sun under a clear blue sky enjoying the warm weather and eclectic mix of company.


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It was amazing to see people biking on the beach, and I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t jealous!




After the most enjoyable day, we had just enough time to fight the crowds back into town, grab a quick bite to eat (fish tacos and truffle fries), and shower before the wedding.




When you combine a beautiful evening, with a stunning hotel, and an amazing couple, it can only be described as magical.  The wedding was personal and sincere, and I was so happy to be part of this special event!






Cocktail hour took place in the garden at sunset.  A truly breath taking scene!



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The BOY and I enjoyed the entire evening and were actually the last to leave the wedding : )  After midnight, as the wedding guests retreated to the bar, a few of us made our way to the hotel pool and hot tub.  Needless to say, I awoke the next morning with frizzy hair and wreaking of an over-chlorinated pool.  The BOY and I had no plans for Sunday, so we took a taxi out to Lido Beach.




We took a long stroll down to the end of the beach overlooking Long Boat Key enjoying another spectacular day!




From the beach, we walked a few blocks to St. Armand’s Circle.  After Friday’s run, I was eager to get back.  Per our taxi driver’s recommendation, we ate lunch at Columbia Restaurant.  The Spanish food was incredible and possibly the best meal we had all weekend!  With an afternoon Indiana game ahead, the BOY suggested cocktails and basketball.




He didn’t have to ask me twice to spend Sunday Funday with a Mojito in the sun!  We got back to our hotel with enough time for a dip in the pool and nap before one last seafood dinner with the bride and groom and a few of their friends who had also stayed the extra night in Florida.




Monday morning came way to quickly.  I pulled out my running shoes for one last 70 degree winter run.  This time, I stayed along the bay.  There is just something about running along the waterfront that I love!  By the time I came bounding back into the hotel room, the BOY was starving and ready for breakfast.




We had a fresh and filling breakfast at the Toasted Mango leaving more than enough time for one last swim.




Do I even need to tell you how hard it was to leave all of this and pack up for the airport???


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But sadly we did!  Our weekend was so bright and wonderful.  The BOY and I had some time to relax, and we returned feeling rejuvenated and already talking about our next vacation!  I’m hoping that just looking at these pictures will keep me warm through the last few weeks/months of winter.

Good Bye Sunshine State



So, I’m sure you can tell by the title of this post that we are back in town after an absolutely incredible weekend in Sarasota, Florida.  I so appreciate everyone’s travel wishes!!!  We easily made it down to Florida and then spent 4 days exploring the city (despite all of my trips to Florida, I rarely make it to the gulf coast) and catching up with old friends.




We buried our feet in the sand…




Kept cocktails in in hand…




Splashed around in the pool…




Drank green smoothies to stay cool…




Walked around town…




And dressed up to boogie down…




We admired the setting sun…




But way too soon, our trip was done!




Isn’t that always the case?!  We’ve got a busy week ahead, but hopefully I’ll find some time to drop in and share a few more photos and stories.




Sending warm wishes from the sunshine state your way!

Local Eats (and Drinks)-St. Kitts

We spent the most amazing day on St. Kitts at a magnificent beach club.  With $3 local beers, we decided to bypass the fancy restaurant and hit up the beach bar instead. 



You know it’s a small world when you start chatting with the people across from you and it turns out they live in the next town over back home.  They were big basketball fans and the BOY needed to discuss the recent Indiana game.  I was happy to get some restaurant recommendations for when we got home.  I was all set to order a Carib (as it was my third day in the Caribbean and I was yet to try one) when the bartender suggested two other local brews.

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The Skol, he explained, was what the islanders REALLY drank and the Stag he described as ‘the man’s beer’.  With a sales pitch like that, I ordered the Skol and the BOY went for the Stag.



I loved the view from the bar, but took my second beer ‘to go’ leaving the BOY discussing basketball with our new friends and headed back into the sunshine.

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The BOY returned hungry, and so we decided to take a stroll down the beach to see what was available.  We discovered a popular local beach bar and grill.


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While the BOY waited for his burger, I walked around to explore.

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The beach bar was inviting, and the colors were so dynamic!  I couldn’t stop taking pictures…










The BOY was thrilled with his burger, which was a steal compared to our beach resort restaurant.

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And as always, I was in LOVE with the view!







The only thing missing from the day was a Carib, but I guess that’s a good enough reason to schedule our next visit to the Caribbean.  Don’t you think???


Last Island-St. Kitts



So I totally didn’t mean to get a panoramic view of the port and just realized it as I loaded up these pictures.  I think it gives you a good idea of my view from the boat during my morning run and yoga session.  Who wouldn’t love getting sweaty running laps around a tiny track with a view like this?!



We took our time getting off the boat and enjoyed breakfast in the dining room.  We had no real plans for St. Kitts…just a bathing suit on our backs, towels and sunscreen in our bags, and camera in my hand.

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We wander through the built up port looking slightly lost as we discussed our options.  There were plenty of taxi drivers available to take us around the island flashing pictures of dazzling beaches.  We asked about one beach that we had looked up online before the trip and were told it would cost us $28 each way. 

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We continued walking through the little port town debating our options when a man chased us down waving his arms and offering to drive us to the beach for $5 per person.  He explained that he already had 4 people in his cab so it would be cheaper.  We continued to go back and forth…having no real plan or destination in mind.  I’m always nervous when something sounds to good to be true, but I liked the idea of a $10 cab ride and I really liked the idea of having other cruisers in the taxi with us as we traveled unknowingly across the island.  We finally decided ‘why not?’ and started walking to the parking lot with our new escort. I was slightly nervous we wouldn’t be able to find his cab as he continued to try to round up patrons, but it was easy to spot since there was only one RED TAXI in the parking lot.  The Reggae Van!






The road to the beach was narrow and windy and in true Caribbean fashion, our driver dashed in and out of cars and around rock slides as he pointed out local landmarks.





I held on for dear life with one hand while I tried to snap pictures of the bright scenery with the other.





From the looks of the parking lot still under construction, I didn’t know what to think when we arrived at our beach destination.  But the minute I walked through the door, I knew we had hit the jackpot.







The colors were magnificent and it looked like a scene straight out of a movie.  We rented two chairs, but we ended up spending most of our time in the swimming in the water taking more goofy pictures with our disposable camera, walking along the beach, or searching for seashells in the sand.









Time flew by way to quickly and before we knew it, our Reggae taxi was back to get us.  The BOY and I decided that we wanted to stay and that it would be okay if the boat left us in paradise for just a few more days.





As we were exiting the parking lot, I realized that I had no idea where I was.  Last minute, I tried to snap this picture to remember (and recommend) the beach when I got home.



The Carambola Beach Club is overlooking St. Friar’s Bay.  It is only a few weeks old and they are still working on the website.  It seems that they are known for their Caribbean cuisine and wine; however, the menu is pricey.  Unfortunately, we just missed the tapas bar that opens at 2:30 each day.  The good news is that you can get local beers for $3 and the view is priceless!  Speaking of views, on the way back to the ship, our driver stopped at the top of a hill so we could get pictures of this breathtaking view where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean.





And the other side of the hill, home to the St. Kitts Marriott which can house up to 900 guests at a time!





I really hope to be staying at that Marriott one day!  The funniest part of our ride back was the man riding the donkey that literally bumped into our taxi as we crept up to the top of the hill.  He had the most adorable monkey on his back, who was holding on for dear life, but popped up just as I snapped my picture.



We returned to the boat excited for two more days at sea, but sad to be leaving the sunny Caribbean behind.



Is it cold and snowy where you live?

There are more beautiful views and islands stories of St. Maarten and St. Lucia to warm you up.

Snorkeling in St. Lucia

Good morning St. Lucia!






I enjoyed breakfast on the balcony as we pulled into the island.  A few of my ‘neighbors’ were up to check out the view too.  Needless to say, I didn’t get much reading done.  I was too busy snapping pictures.

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The BOY and I were scheduled for an excursion at 11:30AM.  This gave us a little time to get off the boat and roam around the shops in the port.







We saw a visually impaired band that was really pretty good and bought a few little trinkets to take home.



Then got back on the boat to change into our bathing suits.  We boarded a speed boat and headed out for a 60 minute ride to the pitons.  The pitons are twin volcanoes on the west coast of the island and a popular site to see in the Caribbean. 

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On the way out there, we received our snorkel equipment.  With size 15 feet, the BOY always has trouble with this part.

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The view from the boat was incredible.

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And snorkeling between these towering green mountains was tons of fun!  I can’t say that it was the best snorkeling that I’ve ever done, but there were some colorful fish to see and a spectacular view to enjoy!  The colors even looked good on our disposable camera.


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Afterwards, we enjoyed a cold Piton beer (a local brew that we hadn’t tried yet) and a stroll beside this beautiful beach resort.

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After a full day on the island, we got back on our boat for some free rum punch and another scenic route ‘home’.  We boarded the cruise ship and set sail for our last island, St. Kitts.