Benefit Concert, Is Spring Here Yet, An Engagement, and A Visit to the ER

Hey friends!  Wow, it has been quite a week.  I apologize for the lack of posting this week, but once I finish this post you will understand why I have been absent.  Let’s start off with the good news first…. 

My mother-in-law came into town last week for a quick visit and we had plans for dinner at The Southern. I wasn’t feeling super hungry so I opted for a salad and added shrimp to it.  It hit the spot. 

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Afterwards we had plans to attend a benefit concert at the Ryman hosted by Trace Atkins.  

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My mother-in-law and me.

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We got to see quite a few different artists including Dierks Bentley (with surprise guest Gavin Degraw).  

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And BLAKE SHELTON!!!!  We love his music.  

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We had a blast listening to music all night and singing along. 

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Yall, this photo is terrible, but have you guys had grilled romaine?  We love it in our house and love topping it with balsamic glaze.  Try it and thank me later. 😉 

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Along with lots of grilling when the weather gets nice is spring clothes!  I am ready to trade in my boots for sandals and sweaters for light dresses.  The weather in Nashville has been teasing up lately so I got in a couple days of skirts and dresses… and I am hoping more are in the near future. 🙂 

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Speaking of nicer weather, my husband took his little brother (from Big Brothers Big Sisters) to the Nashville soccer game this past weekend.  Nashville is getting a pro team in 2020 so that is pretty exciting.  I would have preferred baseball or basketball, but hey, we will take it.  

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Here comes the not-so-good news.  Last Thursday night I was out of town for work when I started not feeling well (think stomach bug and throwing up), but I decided to just sleep it off.  I woke up last Friday feeling terrible so after a couple hours of work in the morning, I headed back to Nashville.  Late Friday afternoon my stomach hurt so bad that I was literally screaming and my husband agreed that I needed to go to the ER. We got in the car and headed to the ER.  Thankfully we only waited about an hour (I was literally dry heaving in the waiting room so that was fun) before they took me back, I saw the doctor and got wheeled away to get a CT scan.  We got the results back shortly and it showed major inflammation in my stomach/colon (colitis).  What the heck!  It was so bad they ended up admitting me to the hospital Friday night. 

The only reason I had a smile was because they gave me a dose of morphine for the pain. 😉

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They ran tests all night so it was a long one for sure.  My husband stayed with me until my mom came to relieve him in the morning.  I was still in a ton of pain on Saturday morning, but I was improving so they ended up releasing me in the late morning.  I was so relieved to go home and sleep in my own bed, but I was still very sore (my stomach hurt to touch and it was very painful to walk) so I kept it easy the next few days.  They think I got an infection while abroad and it caused the couple weeks of stomach pains/throwing up.  I got some antibiotics and have been on the mend since.  I am still on a very bland diet… I tried to sway and that was a BAD idea.  I am just hoping I will be able to eat a salad again soon :), but ultimately I am so grateful for my health and that it was not anything more serious.  

My sweet friends, Rachael and Eric, and my dad and little brother sent me flowers and it made me so happy.  It is so nice to have such great friends and family that care about me after having such a crappy weekend.  

I never want to end a post on a bad note so here is the BEST part of last weekend.  I got the most exciting news this past Sunday!  My best friend, Rachael, got engaged to her boyfriend, Eric!  I couldn’t be more happy for them!!  Fun Fact: I actually introduced them to each other in HIGH SCHOOL and Eric called my wedding “Cupid’s wedding” because I was the matchmaker.  🙂 I just love these two and cannot wait for all the festivities to come this next year!!!!! It is so amazing to see friends so happy.  

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That is all I have for today, friends.  I am hoping for a less eventful weekend than last weekend with more highs than lows and no hospital visits. 😉  I hope you all have a greta weekend!!

Questions:

  1.  What do you have planned for this weekend?
  2. Have you ever been hospitalized?
  3. What is your favorite type of music?

 

Cancun, Mexico Couples Trip Part 3 … The FOOD!!!

Hey friends!!!  

Today’s post will wrap up my recap of our trip to Cancun.  I saved the best for last because today is all about the FOOD!  When I typically think of an all-inclusive, I think of cafeteria-style food.  ugh!  But I promise you the food was anything but that!  It was spectacular!!  You will see why I went to the gym every morning after reading this post! 😉

Our typical morning began with a gym session followed by breakfast at the buffet.  I am not huge on breakfast food so I didn’t have a huge variety of foods, but what I did have was amazing.  They have a ton of fresh juice options and I always opted for the cactus/celery juice.  I know, I know… it sounds disgusting, but I promise it was amazing.  I also took this time to hydrate before being in the sun all day.  My favorite part of breakfast was the massive amount of fresh fruit available.  It was all so delicious and juicy.  I also stocked up on eggs either over easy or scrambled or both!  And to make my breakfast a little more festive, I topped my eggs with fresh guacamole and pico! yum!

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My bestie, Lissa, always watches our pups while we are out of town.  They absolutely love her and it is so reassuring to get pictures and updates during our trip letting us know how they are doing.  It gives me such piece of mind to know they are in good hands.  

Lunch usually occurred around 2pm after a few hours at the pool.  The buffet was the lunch restaurant so we always tried to get a seat by the edge so we could people watch. 🙂 

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My lunch usually involved more fresh fruit, a piece of fish (or 2) and lots of cooked veggies.  And more guac… always more guac!

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For dinner we had the option of the buffet or 5 sit down restaurants.  We tried 3 of the sit down restaurants and had the buffet a couple of the nights for dinner.  The first night we went to the Japanese restaurant.  

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They brought out two of these sushi boards for us to start with and then we asked for two more.  Eeeekk.. it was so yummy.  

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I got ahi tuna ceviche and it was amazing. 

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I got the mahi for my entree, which was good as well.  I love fresh fish, especially when someone else prepares it, so I definitely had my fair share of seafood on this trip.  

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Dessert!

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Another night we went to the contemporary restaurant for dinner. 

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No one at our table liked the raw salmon, so more for me!

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This squash soup was really yummy! 

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I got the grouper this night and it was really tasty!

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The last night we had dinner at the steakhouse and I got the grilled salmon, which was some of the best salmon I have ever had.  It was sooo good!

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Even the nights we had dinner at the restaurants, we usually finished up the evening with dessert at the buffet since there were so many options.  Exhibit A below… when you love chocolate but can’t make up your mind… you get everything and try a bite of it all.  

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I had to end the recap with the picture of the delta crew loading guitars onto our plane to Nashville.  Little Big Town was on our flight back to Nashville and I was in total fan girl mode.  I didn’t ask for a picture since it was late and I didn’t want to be annoying, but that is just another reason I LOVE living in Nashville.  You get to see stars in their natural day to day life, which is pretty neat!  

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We had such an amazing trip and I am already planning our next vacay!! I hope you enjoyed my recaps and have an amazing day!

Questions:

  1. Have you ever met a celebrity?
  2. What is your favorite airline to fly?
  3. What is the longest flight you have ever been on? 

Cancun, Mexico Couples Trip Part 2 … Dressing Up

Hey guys!!  I am back with round 2 of our trip to Cancun, Mexico and today’s post shows all the times we were not in bathing suits (95% of the trip).  I would say 5% was spent in gym clothes (yes, I made it to the gym every single day on vacation and am pretty proud of that… had to burn some calories so we could eat more ;)) and the other 5% was spent in normal clothes so this had to be documented. 🙂 

The crew in the lobby of the hotel.  My sister and I are besties and we are extremely lucky that our boys men are good friends too.  #travelbuddiesforlife

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At the indoor bar at the resort for happy hour! Although… every hour is happy hour at an all-inclusive…

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Morg and Max.

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My sister and I.

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The men. 

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Ahem… I mean boys. 🙂 

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Each night we had a drink at the bar before heading to dinner.  

They specialized in martinis! So fun!

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My favorite was the expresso martini!

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We played a lot of card games during happy hour. 

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We are quite a competitive bunch. 😉 #I’mjusthereforthechampagne

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In front of one of the pools before dinner.

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Outside the restaurants for dinner. I am going to do a whole separate post on the food!!

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Love this girl

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SO MUCH!

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After dinner each night there was a show in the outdoor theater.

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Some were good, some were not, but we had fun!

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I’ll wrap up this post with another picture of the beach because… why not? 

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Can’t.get.enough!

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I will be back very soon with my final recap of our trip that is all about the FOOD!!!  See yall soon!!! 

Guest Post: 5 Gluten-Free Snacks

Hey there!!  Who else is glad we have made it to Wednesday?  I sure am!  I’ve got a fun guest post for you today and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!  I don’t often accept guest posts, but when Craig approached me about the idea of gluten-free snacks, I was all in!  I am a huge snacker and love hearing suggestions of new snacks to make to change things up a bit!

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My name is Craig and I am an editor at CakeJournal. I spend most of my time finding every excuse test out new baking recipes. I write about everything from cake recipes to fun baking projects to vegan baking. If you can’t get a hold of me I am probably out at a restaurant or in the
kitchen!

5 Gluten-Free Snacks

Snacking while following a gluten free diet provides the opportunity to experience new flavors and ingredients! It does not have to be boring or complicated. These five snacks will be sure to satisfy your cravings.

If you are craving a sophisticated snack, whip up this smoked oyster spread. The cayenne pepper gives it a flavorful kick. Spread it on cucumber slices or crackers.

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Smoked Oyster Spread

8 oz package cream cheese, softened

1 can smoked oysters

1 tsp gluten free Worcestershire sauce

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

  1. Add ingredients to a food processor.
  2. Pulse until all ingredients are well incorporated.
  3. Serve the oyster spread on seed crackers or chopped veggies.

 

Everyone occasionally craves chocolate or sweets. These almond butter chocolate energy balls won’t spike your blood sugar because they contain protein from the collagen peptides and almond butter. Or if you prefer a vegan option try this! This sugar and protein balance will fill you up and give you energy, not fatigue.

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Almond Butter Chocolate Energy Balls

¾ c almond butter

1 + ¾ cup quick oats

1/3 c honey

1/3 c dark chocolate chips

¼ c chia seeds

2 tbsp collagen peptides

  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the almond butter for 30 seconds in the microwave.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the melted almond butter. Stir until fully combined.
  3. Roll the almond butter dough into 24 tablespoon-sized balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Refrigerate the balls for 30 minutes, and enjoy!

 

Fat with a snack is the most satiating. Since avocados are a great source of healthy fat, why not mash them into guacamole? This Chunky Mexican Guacamole has fantastic spicy and tangy flavors. Dip into it with any kind of chip – plantain chip, corn chip, or root vegetable chip. It’s even amazing along with some veggie sticks.

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Chunky Mexican Guacamole with Plantain Chips

1 large avocado

¼ c chopped cilantro

1 small jalapeno, minced

¼ red onion, chopped

½ tsp sea salt

Juice of one lime

  1. Mash the avocado until chunky. Mix in the remaining ingredients and sprinkle with extra cilantro.
  2. Serve the guacamole with plantain chips or tortilla chips.

 

This spicy snack will wake you up during an afternoon slump! These crispy Buffalo Chicken Wings are excellent dipped in a creamy ranch dressing. Having these wings prepared ahead of time makes snacking even easier. Simply heat them up in a skillet over medium heat in order to keep their crispy texture.

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Buffalo Chicken Wings with Ranch Dressing

3 pounds chicken wings

1 tbsp arrowroot starch

1 ½ tsp sea salt, divided

1/3 c coconut oil

½ c hot sauce

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp garlic powder

½ tsp paprika

  1. Preheat oven to 250℉.
  2. Toss the chicken wings with arrowroot starch and one teaspoon of sea salt.
  3. Place the chicken wings in a single layer on a cooling rack set over a rimmed baking sheet.
  4. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
  5. Flip the chicken wings and bake for 40 more minutes at 425℉, or until the wings are crispy and lightly browned.
  6. While the wings are baking, prepare the buffalo sauce by combining the coconut oil, hot sauce, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, paprika, and remaining ½ tsp sea salt in a bowl. Mix well until thoroughly combined.
  7. Once the chicken wings have cooled, coat them with the buffalo sauce and serve with ranch dressing for dipping.

 

Roasted beets add such a brilliant color to any snack plate. Try these Roasted Garlicky Roots – root vegetables roasted in olive oil and fragrant garlic until crispy! You could even enjoy these roots with some Chunky Mexican Guacamole!

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Roasted Garlicky Roots

2 parsnips, chopped

1 purple beet, chopped

2 medium sweet potatoes, chopped

4 carrots, chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

Sea salt to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 400℉.
  2. Toss the vegetables with olive and garlic in a large bowl. Spread the vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Roast the vegetables for 40 minutes, flipping once halfway.
  4. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve.

 

These five snacks are perfect for any time of day when hunger strikes! The Almond Butter Chocolate Energy Balls work as a grab-and-go snack when you’re on the run. Chunky Mexican Guacamole can be packed in a container along with a bag of chips for dipping. Roasted Garlicky Roots also make a wonderful cold snack while road-tripping. Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, you can enjoy healthy and delightful gluten free snacking!

How to connect with Craig:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cakejournal
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC04of5gPw-YIZGvL- YGXiSw
Pinterest: CakeJournal
Instagram: @cake.journal
Twitter: @CakeJournal

Weekend Recap 3.18.18 …NCAA, Walks, Spring Cleaning, and a Movie Date

Hi there!!!!   How was your weekend??  I hope it was wonderful!! Did any of you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?  This is probably the first year in a LONG time that I haven’t celebrated.  I went to Miami University (Miami of Ohio) and the Thursday before St. Patrick’s Day is known as Green Beer Day and it is absolute mayhem… and so much fun.  The college kids get up at the crack of dawn (think 4am …) to start the festivities that last all day and well into the night.  When we were living in Dallas, the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade is near our old house and they actually closed down the street behind our house for a day full of celebrations so needless to say, we have always taken part in a lot of St. Patrick’s Day fun.  But this year was a little different since I was still recovering from the stomach flu I got last week and we also wanted to keep it low key since we had been traveling the weekend prior.  This week was so productive mixed with a lot of exercise, relaxation, and amazing weather.  It was just what I needed! 

I don’t know about you guys, but March Madness is a BIG deal in our house (not by me…).  My husband loves college basketball and can’t get enough of the NCAA tournament.  Two games happened to be in Nashville on Friday night and my husband asked me early in the week if I wanted to go.  While being under the weather I told him no, but ended up feeling fine by Friday so I told him I would go with him if he could find tickets (not in the nosebleeds :)).  We ended up with great seats, but actually made our way down even a little lower to the best seats!  I don’t like watching basketball on tv, but in person it is a different story.  I think it is so fun especially when you are so close!

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We got to see Xavier play Texas Southern and Missouri play Florida State.  We had a blast!

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Bright and early on Saturday morning, we loaded the pups in the car to drop off my husband at a tennis clinic while we met my mom at the park for an early morning walk!

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We walked and chatted and enjoyed seeing all the moss along the path. 

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So neat!

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The pups had so much fun!

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Afterwards we came home and got to work on some spring cleaning.  We opened the windows and doors and began dusting, mopping, vacuuming, organizing, cleaning bathrooms, doing laundry, washing sheets and blankets, and cooking.  This little rascal enjoyed sun bathing all day. 

 

My mom surprised us with some new Easter decorations!! How cute are these bunnies?? My husband said they look mean. 😉

After our cleaning was complete and there was a break in the basketball games on tv (my husband put our tv out on the back porch so he could enjoy the weather without missing the game…), we leashed up the pups and headed to the park for a nice afternoon walk!  

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We loved seeing all the spring flowers blooming!

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I made these protein balls for a healthy morning snack for the week ahead!

We called it an early night on Saturday since we were up really early.  After we woke up on Sunday, I got in a quick workout before my friend Lissa came over to join me and the pups for another walk in the park!  It was such great girl time catching up and chatting while enjoying the nice weather.  

My husband and I got in some cuddling and more basketball watching before our evening plans.  

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This is how most of my pictures actually look before I get a good one. 😉 So many kisses!

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Obsessed with these hard-to-photograph-munchkins!

For dinner we roasted a bunch of veggies to put over rice/quinoa.  I topped mine with avocado and my husband topped his with chicken.  Easy, healthy, and delicious!

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On Sunday night we decided to see Game Night.  It was pretty funny/scary and kept me engaged the whole time.  I wouldn’t say it was amazing, but it wasn’t bad.  It was hard to tell what was real and what was fake so it definitely kept me guessing.  

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The recliner seats didn’t hurt either! 🙂 

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That about wraps up our weekend!!  I hope yours was amazing too!

Questions:

  1. Highlight of your weekend?
  2. Have you seen any good movies recently?
  3. Favorite flower?

Cancun, Mexico Couples Trip Part 1…The Pool, The Beach, and All The Activities

Good morning!!! I am so excited to share our recent trip to Cancun, Mexico with you all!  We had such a great time!  My sister and her boyfriend came with us, which made it even more fun!!

I always joke around and put Riley in my suitcase while I am packing because I hate leaving my pups, but this time he seriously did this on his own…. multiple times.  It about had me in tears, yall.  Fur babies are just the best!  

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We were all up and at ’em very early on Wednesday for our flights.  We had a short layover in Atlanta before arriving in Cancun.  Our travel was uneventful and we made it to our resort around noon, which was nice because we had the afternoon to hang out.  

We decided to take this trip because my sister and her boyfriend both had spring break from graduate school at this time.  (She is in her last year of law school and he is in his last year of his MBA.)  We looked at a LOT of resorts, but ultimately chose the Riu Palace Las Americas again.  My husband and I vacation here at the end of 2016 and loved it so we decided not to risk it and go with one we both loved.  It is an all-inclusive (!!!) and it is adults only.  The service is wonderful, the resort is very clean, and the food is phenomenal.   

 

 

Can we all just acknowledge how cute this hat looks on my sister? 

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And how funny it looks on me?  I think I have an oddly shaped head. 😉

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We were all just a LITTLE excited to be at the beach in the warm weather!

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This view never gets old. 

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Nothing like that beautiful blue water. 

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My husband is ALL about the competitions.  This one you had to try to throw a football through a hula hoop.  He almost won. 😉 

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And ping pong… there was lots of ping pong.  

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Jon’s cheering squad. 🙂 

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And lots of lounging…. I listened to so many podcasts.. it was amazing!

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Fun in the sun!

We joined some boys for a few games of beach volleyball.  

The boys had a blast playing water volleyball. 

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My sister and I opted to watch and sip mimosas instead. 😉 

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More hanging by the pool!

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Love these peeps!!

 

 

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The amazing resort!

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That is all I have for today friends!  I will be back soon with a more recaps of the food and the nightlife fun!  Have a great day!!

 

Just Poppin’ In!

Hey friends!!! 

Just thought I would pop in for a second to say hi since it’s been a minute since my last post!  I can’t wait to share my recap of our recent trip to Cancun, Mexico last week.  We had a BLAST!!!!  I usually would have posted a recap by now, but unfortunately I got hit with a nasty stomach bug and was out of commission for a few days this week.  Lovely, I know.  But I will be back next week to share a recap of our trip and a fun guest post!  

Until then, I will leave you with a few pictures of my caregivers the last couple days…. (not picture.. my amazing momma who rushed over to nurse me back to health and my hubby, who brought me all the goodies to help me feel better).

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They both kept me company for hours and hours on end never leaving my side.  Ahhh the sweetest!!!

Have a great weekend, yall!!! And happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!