Anniversary Celebrations in Cancun

Anniversary Celebrations in Cancun

“How was your trip?!”

I have gotten that question so many times this week and I love that people care to hear about our trip. It’s hard to sum it all up in one simple response, so I just say “so SO good!”

 

But this is really how our trip was… all the fun details, what we would have done differently, and what we did right. Let the reminiscing begin.

Where we stayed

 

This was our second time in Cancun. This city holds a special place in our heart.

The first time was 2016 for our Honeymoon and we stayed at Le Blanc. We absolutely adored that resort, but they are currently closed for renovations. We thought it would be a good idea to at least stay within the same resort group, Palace Resorts. It was a good idea indeed.

We stayed at Sun Palace. An all-inclusive, adults only resort. Yes please! We love kids, but don’t exactly love kids on vacation. You know what I mean. Sun Palace is only about 15 minutes from the airport which was perfect! It’s not close to the downtown “going out” area, but we were fine with staying around the resort. Gotta take advantage of the all-inclusive food and drinks 🙂

Sun Palace is also a smaller resort, so it was a quick walk to anywhere. The gym was actually right around the corner from our room (insert slight guilt when we just walked past it instead of going in after day 2…). The spa, lobby bar, restaurants, pools, and beach were all just a few minutes from our room. Easy breezy.

 

Even though we were only on the second floor, the view from our room was gorgeous blue water and we could step out on our balcony to scope out the best spots on the beach or by the pool. I gotta admit, I miss looking over to my left and seeing water. Now when I look to the left from bed I just see a closet and dresser. Not quite the same. But I have these pictures to take me back! Take me back to infinity pools and ocean views.

What we drank + ate

 

It was vacation, so of course we did a lot of drinking and eating! I was pleasantly surprised by everything we had, but I definitely had some favorites. Eric got suckered into some shots, but made sure they were fruity and delicious. Frozen drinks were the go-to since it was so hot out, but we had to be careful to avoid brain freeze. Tropical vacation problems.

It was expected being in Mexico, but my favorite drink was the strawberry margarita. But we definitely learned who made it the best and when I ask for an extra shot to add. It had the perfect hint of lime and was so refreshing.

Sun Palace has four restaurants and a snack bar at the pool. The Alamo offers buffet style breakfast and lunch and turns into a sit down Mexican restaurant for dinner. Other dinner options are the Steak House, Oriental Lounge (Thai), and Trotto (Italian). 24 hour room service is also an option — the room service menu was actually really good! The snack bar was a favorite since we didn’t have to leave the pool area. Quesadillas with fresh guacamole and pico, yum! I’m pretty easy to please.

 

We ate at the Mexican restaurant, Alamo, for our last night since it was the only one we hadn’t tried. We were greeted with a beautiful anniversary surprise! A sweet couple we met at the pool that day helped arrange this to celebrate our anniversary. It was so kind and we enjoy the well wishes from the staff. I couldn’t stop smiling!

What we did

 

Since we stayed a certain number nights, we earned resort credits. This is pretty awesome although you do have to pay the 16% tax, so we didn’t use up all our credits. We picked out a few things that we both really wanted to do — we were both happy with our choices: couple’s massage, wine tasting, and Tulum.

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I loved these pretty tile floors at a shop in Tulum

The couple’s massage was an absolute must! I went into our trip knowing we would at least do that. We both were in need of a massage. It wasn’t the full on fancy experience we were used to at Le Blanc, but it was still nice and we enjoyed it. A great way to spend a morning before a fun day in the sun.

The wine tasting was much better than I anticipated! I’m always down for some wine, but this tasting was very educational, fun, and delicious! We tried 5 different Mexican wines and each had a hand selected food pairing ranging from salad to meat to dessert. We both learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed it! Although we did make the mistake of eating RIGHT before we went. We weren’t informed of the food pairings and we didn’t want to attend a wine tasting on an empty stomach. Whoops. Next time it would be wise to ask if there will be food involved as well or if we should eat ahead of time.

 

Tulum was incredible! I have so much to say about it and grabbed many pictures that it may warrant its own post (if you are interested in that!) It was crazy to experience a place that used to be so vibrant and is now deserted. It took a few hours to get to Tulum – longer than normal since we had to pick up people from two other resorts. It was rainy the morning we went, but luckily the rain stopped right after we got off the bus. It ended up being pretty overcast which helped with the heat and possible sunburn.

We had a wonderful time learning about the culture and exploring the ruins. After a 6am wakeup call, bus ride, and adventure we sure were exhausted when we got back. We got back to our resort around 3pm which was great to still have a good part of our day to hang out. Food was not included on our tour, so the first stop when we got back to Sun Palace was the buffet and then we got along with our usual pool/beach routine.

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The ice cream man obviously couldn’t pass up a photo opp with an ice cream cone 😉 Good thing he was repping all his Vida Dulce gear!

What we thought

 

We loved our time in Cancun at Sun Palace! We have traveled internationally quite a few times together by now, so we learn how to do it better each time.

For our next time we definitely need to bring more cash. It’s so handy to have cash for tipping and paying for item, especially somewhere like Mexico or somewhere touristy that will accept American dollars. We did better with the cash this time, but were cutting it close. One of the benefits of being out of debt is the ability to give freely, so we want to bless the people that serve us on our travels!

A few things made this trip easier. The first being our Global Entry access. This is similar to TSA Precheck, but it’s for international travel. We have been background checked, so it makes customs easier. It also gives us TSA Precheck, which is such a treat! If you travel relatively often, I would highly recommend looking into Global Entry or TSA Precheck.

Eric booked our airport to resort transportation ahead of time. This kept us from having to be haggled in the airport to find a ride and we knew already how much it would cost. There aren’t taxi meters, so there’s no way of knowing how much you will owe at the end. Many resorts may include a transport in their price or have some sort of deal. Be mindful of when you need to be picked up for your departure though because it could be 3-4 hours early, which may or may not be necessary.

Lastly, we maintained a relaxed routine. We didn’t go crazy and go way against our normal routine which did make it easier to be back home. We created a general routine and stuck to it every day we could. I’m someone that thrives with routine, so I enjoy that. Know what you enjoy and do what works best for you!

If you’re still with me, thank you — I hope you enjoyed reading about our trip! Do you have any adventures scheduled!? Although I’m not sure where it’ll be, I’m already looking forward to our next one. The travel bug always gets me.

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June 2018 Round Up

June 2018 Round Up

Wow, 6 months of 2018 complete. How have you been using your year so far!? These round up posts are so fun for me to put together to reflect and summarize my month. Here we go!

3 things I’m excited about

  1. Our second wedding anniversary and our trip! I can’t believe it’s almost been 2 years since we got married! July 9th, 2016 was such a special day because my best friend and I committed forever to each other in the presence of so many family and friends. Marriage is hard, but it’s also such a gift. In honor of our anniversary, I’ll be dedicating an entire post to marriage, so keep an eye out if that interests you!
  2. 100th Pure Barre class! I attended Pure Barre years ago right after I graduated from college, but had a hard time coordinating the class times with my schedule then. I started up again in February and it’s been amazing! I’m getting stronger, mentally and physically, with every class. It’s been the greatest accountability and community. Not to mention my favorite Mexican restaurant is within walking distance and there’s a great nail place two doors down 😉 It’s so challenging, but also one of my favorite things! I can’t say enough good things about the instructors and the studio in general. If you’ve never tried Pure Barre, I suggest checking it out!
  3. Completing the Certified Sales Professional course! I spent two days learning and growing as a real estate professional in the new construction world and it was fabulous! It’s been almost a year since I got my real estate license and I’m all done with my post licensing as of last December, but that doesn’t mean the learning stops. I love that I’m in a field where I can continue to grow and use my strengths to flourish. Plus I actually enjoy class… most of the time. You could call me a nerd 🙂

Quote I’ve been meditating on

“Learn to be happy with what you have while you pursue all that you want.” -E. James Rohn

We’re in a season of excitement and pursuing bigger things! That’s wonderful, but that can also make it easy to lose sight of what we currently have. We are beyond blessed, but those blessings can be missed if we’re only focusing on what’s next or around the corner. I’m learning more and more about contentment. Being happy with what I have now.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want more or better, but it means I don’t need more or better to be happy. That difference is huge. When happiness is always to be found in the next or the more or the better, it will never be achieved. There is always something else that will be next, more, or better. And then happiness will never be where you are. Hold onto happiness with one hand and reach for the next good thing with the other.

Who or what I’m adoring

The Linden Manor — I got to experience the first wedding at this gorgeous venue and see a dream come to life! My good friend, Kelly, and her aunt started up this amazing venue space in Hillsborough, North Carolina. It’s actually her aunt’s home. Can you imagine actually living there!? Stunning home, luxurious pool, and lots of great space on the property for the wedding of your dreams!

I remember when this venue was just a hope and a thought. I helped with one of the first consultation appointments. I’ve prayed for this friend and venue. It was a true honor to be a part of the first BIG day! If it was any indication of the future, I am sure there are many, many more to come! If you’re a bride or know a bride seeking an affordable outdoor wedding space that doesn’t sacrifice beauty, I highly recommend The Linden Manor. The owners are kind, friendly, and professional, plus you may even see me helping behind the scenes! Here’s just a few of my favorite pics from the (hot!) day

Favorite memory from June

Harrison and Jasmine’s wedding and a weekend away in Wilmington was definitely a favorite memory. We had an absolute blast in Wilmington! I had forgotten how close the beach was to where we live and then was kicking myself for not going more often. It was a scorcher weekend, but the heat was worth it. The sweet newlyweds and the wedding were gorgeous! It’s a joy to witness love and welcome friends into the “married club.”

We decided to stay for two nights which was the best decision! The day after the wedding we had a whole day out on the beach. Plus what would a trip to Wilmington be without Britts Donuts!? Eric was in heaven and I certainly ate my fair share. With as busy as we are and as limited as our time together is right now, a weekend away was much needed. Happy marriage to the newest Mr and Mrs!

A good lesson I learned

It’s important to take the time to celebrate others.

We all want to be celebrated, right? We want to be acknowledged for the good work we’re doing and we want our milestones to be noticed. I’m learning this is such a wonderful way to be there for the people in my life and cultivate deeper connections. I love being a part of those moments and I know my people appreciate the support. Time is a gift. If I can’t be there in person, I try to do the next best thing with a text, phone call, or card to let them know I’m thinking about them and celebrating from afar.

Make it a goal to celebrate at least one person in your life each month. My guess is once you get started and seek out those opportunities, you’ll be celebrating loved ones left and right. Moments both big and small deserve to be celebrated, so don’t feel the need to put any limits on it!

In July…

I’m saying no to: time wasters.

I’m saying yes to: waking up early.

Cheers to a safe, happy summer with lots of celebrations! I’ll see you here next week ❤

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May 2018 Round Up

May 2018 Round Up

This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here.

May felt like a whirlwind! It was exciting, busy, challenging, and exhausting. And so so good! Welcome to the monthly round up — I’m glad you’re here ❤

3 things I’m excited about

  1. Vida Dulce is officially OPEN! It’s been a long time coming, but as of May 2, 2018, the ice cream shop is open! And it feels so good!! I don’t say this because of my affiliation to the place, but everything is SO delicious! Vida Dulce has had an amazing reaction from all the customers and already has many regulars. It’s just the beginning and I’m excited to see what’s to come!
  2. A weekend at the beach. This weekend we’re heading to Wilmington to celebrate the wedding of two good friends and we couldn’t be more thrilled!!! I love weddings and witnessing love — getting to experience that at the beach is even better. It’s going to be a wonderful getaway for Eric and I and much deserved since we’ve both been working so hard.
  3. Lawn care. You know you’re a homeowner when you’re excited about lawn care 😉 We’ve been in our home for three years and up until this point we’ve been banking on what the previous homeowners left us with and did the little bit by ourselves. We can’t do that anymore. The weeds in our backyard went crazy, so we decided to give in and hire someone to take care of it. We hired TruGreen to treat the weeds and fertilize our grass and a local guy to take care of our natural areas. It’s gonna be looking sharp for the summer… if the rain ever stops!

Quote I’ve been meditating on

“In between goals is a thing called life, that has to be lived and enjoyed.” -Sid Caesar

Goals are important to set, but as the quote says, life fills in the space between. I love that my Powersheets encourage me to go after the goals that matter most to me so I’m spending my time and effort in the best way. Life is precious and time is fleeting, so lets live and enjoy it! When you cultivate what matters, the best parts of life are able to shine through.

Who or what I’m adoring

Annie F. Downs and her podcast, That Sounds Fun. You may have heard of Annie because of her speaking engagements or her new devotion, 100 Days to Brave. I learned about Annie through Dave Ramsey’s daughter, Rachel Cruze, and I’m so glad I did! Annie is genuinely kind, funny, and honest. Her Instagram stories always bring a smile to my face. She’s the type of person that you just want to be best friends with! I’ve been loving her podcast where she has transparent and entertaining conversations with her friends — it’s my favorite when I see a new podcast is available! If you’re looking for truth from a Godly, bright woman check out Annie F. Downs!

Favorite memory from May

My favorite memory from May was my sister’s graduation weekend. My baby sister graduated from Appalachian State University on May 12th. I still can’t believe it, but she did it! She’s always been the odd ball when it comes to schools — me and my brother went to the same middle school, high school, and college while our sister went to different schools. She did what was best for her and I’m so proud of the woman she’s growing into.

Although I was sick, it was a wonderful weekend of celebrations for both graduation and Mother’s Day. Life is busy, so it’s been a while since my family has all been together. This was the perfect time to get away together and just enjoy each other’s company. Brewery visits, yummy restaurants, beautiful mountain views with perfect weather — we couldn’t have asked for more! Boone, North Carolina is such a gorgeous place and I totally understand why she wanted to make that home during her college years, but I’m selfishly excited that her next chapter is bringing her back to Raleigh!

A good lesson I learned

Word of mouth can go far and does wonders.

It’s been amazing to see this in action with the ice cream shop! The support of friends, family, and strangers has been mind blowing and we’re so grateful. It’s showing me how powerful our words and recommendations are because so many customers have come in based on what their friends have shared. Social media is also powerful! Share the things that you love because it truly makes a difference for that business and it allows your friends to discover awesome things!

In June…

I’m saying no to: my snooze button.

I’m saying yes to: celebrations!

June is gonna be a great one! Lets do it!

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March 2018 Round Up

March 2018 Round Up

This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here.

Hi friend! I’m always looking for ways to make these posts better for you (and more enjoyable for me to write), so that means change! Instead of my monthly “favorite things” post, welcome to the round up! Giving you a bigger glimpse into my month — feel free to share about your March in the comments below.

3 things I’m excited about

  1. Vida Dulce opening up in Cary, North Carolina: This little ice cream shop has been in the works for almost a year and it’s finally coming to fruition. My husband and his family have been working so hard on getting everything prepared — so proud of them and beyond excited to have access to all the sweet treats! If you don’t mind, please say a prayer for a smooth opening and success in this new business venture ❤
  2. Becoming a Simplified by Emily Ley affiliate: It’s such an honor to partner with brands I love and that’s exactly what’s happening here. I saw a post about the Simplified team taking applications for affiliates and I hopped right on it! I believe in their vision and adore their products, so this is a blessing! As an affiliate I will continue to genuinely share about the products I love and in return I earn 15% on Emily Ley products from my affiliate link. Win win, right??
  3. Our finances: I plan on sharing about this more in depth in a post coming up, but yall! Amazing things happen when you’re intentionally working a plan. Eric and I have been working Dave Ramsey’s baby steps (all the praise hands here). We’re focused and working together as a team which is doing wonders for our finances and our communication. I’ve never felt this at peace with my finances. Ever! It’s a good feeling.

Quote I’ve been meditating on

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” — Exodus 14:14

Being still is actually one of my goals for the month. It may seem silly, but it’s a struggle for me to slow down. I feel a need to be constantly busy and productive. Where did this come from!? Why can’t I just stop? There is a time for productivity and a time for rest. I’m practicing resting in Jesus. I want to be still so I can hear His voice instead of getting wrapped up in the chaos of the world. Slowly, but surely breaking the chains on the glorified busyness.

Who or what I’m adoring

Pure Barre! I truly cannot say enough good things about PB. I don’t even know what to call it. It’s more than a workout class (although it is a killer workout)! It’s fun. It’s challenging. It’s supportive. It’s also a community. It’s a place I can go to take my mind off the day and just focus on me — focus on how I can become stronger – mentally and physically. I can tell in my body I’m getting stronger and more flexible. I’m all around healthier because I’ve been intentional about getting to the studio. If you’re local and want to try out a class I’d love for you to be my guest! But be careful… you may become addicted too 😉

Favorite memory from March

Our trip to Los Angeles (you can read all about it here)! Since it was at the very beginning of the month it seems like it was forever ago. It was such a fun and memorable experience, but there’s so much more we still want to do in California! We’re already itching to go back!

A good lesson I learned

Things don’t always go according to plan, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. There can still be joy in the moment.

I am a planner. I find comfort in planning out my days, writing a to do list, and having a game plan. But as you can imagine, many days and moments don’t go according to plan. This can be frustrating to me when my perfectly calculated plans are unraveled, but often times it’s for something better. I don’t always see that in the moment, but God works in mysterious ways. He is always working things together for my good. Although it drives me crazy, I’m grateful that my plans don’t always work out! I’m finding joy in the journey and gratitude for His better plans.


So what do we think about the new round up!?

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Hopped off the plane at LAX

Hopped off the plane at LAX

I’ve always wanted to visit California.

We considered going a few years ago when I had a week vacation from my old job, but we realized it was cheaper to travel outside the country. So we went to Punta Cana instead and got engaged 😉

 

Well it was finally time to splurge and make the trip to the west coast! Shout out to our accumulated travel points. Last year we traveled to Vegas for Eric’s birthday and this year we celebrated his 26th in Los Angeles (his actual birthday was spent in airports, but ya know…)

Overall, the trip was amazing! Our visit wasn’t nearly long enough, but is it ever?? It didn’t help that we missed the entire first day due to a huge travel mess.

Original plan was Raleigh –> DC (Dulles International Airport) –> LAX

That didn’t happen.

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After the most turbulent 6am flight ever and 2 failed landing attempts at Dulles we diverted to Pittsburgh. It was honestly one of the scariest experiences of my life. It felt like we were on a rollercoaster (I love rollercoasters!) but then I remembered we were in the air thousands of feet above ground. So that rollercoaster feeling became a lot less fun. Also, so many people were getting sick because of the turbulence. We were sitting in the very last row right in front of the bathroom — just the place you wanna be in that situation. Except nobody was allowed to get up and use the bathroom because the seatbelt sign never shut off.

I was so happy to finally be on the ground in Pittsburgh! The two flight attendants in the back of the plane told us that was one of the worst flights they’ve ever been on. Super not comforting. But we made it safely to the ground!

We sat around Pittsburgh airport for hours. After missed connections and boarding/de-boarding the plane, our pilot got news that multiple planes had landed at Dulles, so we went for it again. And praise God, we landed! The whole plane cheered. God was seriously on our side because we somehow made it to Los Angeles despite packed out planes and being put on standby for two different flights. My checked bag even made it! Victory!!

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We arrived in LA at midnight (aka 3am back home). Naturally, our first stop: tacos.

It was a bit rainy and overcast our first full day, but that didn’t stop us. We took the long, scenic route to find food and ended at a delicious restaurant called Paty’s. So delicious! The mimosas were a great decision.

 

I know they say California traffic is bad, but I didn’t realize to what level. It wasn’t even as bad as usual because we were there on the weekend. It would take 40 minutes to go 9 miles. I loved California, but I’m not sure I could deal with that on the regular. It does allow you to see a lot of things.

 

Next stop: Santa Monica! One of my main things in LA was to capture a California sunset. We spent hours walking around Santa Monica beach and the pier. We actually ended up missing the true pink sunset because we thought it was over. We were struggling. The weather and time change had us confused I guess. But we did see it! That’ll just have to be a goal for our next trip.

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We tried to do the Warner Brothers Studio Tour on Saturday, but of course tickets were sold out. So we went ahead and purchased our tickets for Sunday morning at 8:30am. I’m still not sure how we all managed to wake up, get ready, and make it there by 8:30, but it was so worth it! Plus they have Starbucks in the lobby, so that definitely helped.

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The studio tour was so cool! There are different studio tours in LA, but I think Warner Brothers was the best because they have done so many popular shows and movies. We got a behind the scenes look at where the Hollywood magic happens.

I wish I would have been able to record everything our tour guide said because there was so much! We got to see the front door from Annie, the Alibi Room from Shameless, the church and high school from Pretty Little Liars, the alley from Friends, the Ellen stage, the house from Fuller House, jungle scenes from Jurassic Park, and so much more.

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The front of the Alibi Room from “Shameless”
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Church from “Pretty Little Liars”
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Rosewood High School from “Pretty Little Liars”
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The “Fuller House” House
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Each stage has a red light like this — when filming the light is lit, so be quiet

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Where Ellen stands to do her monologue
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Ellen’s stage

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Hubby and I hanging out at Central Perk from “Friends”

I have so much respect for those involved in entertainment — it’s amazing what they can do! If you’re ever in LA, the Warner Brothers Studio Tour is a must. But make a reservation or purchase your tickets ahead of time!

So many more pics and tidbits of info I could share, but we’ll leave it here for now!

Demonstrating how they use forced perspective
It was Oscar Sunday, so duh
Screen writing for “Shameless”

Actual fire escapes from New York — wanted them to be authentic

The Hollywood Sign is of course another must do when in Los Angeles. We were planning a hike, but a little bit of birthday celebrations happened… Can’t say no to sangria and guacamole!

 

Once we got there and saw how long the hike would be, we decided against it. Maybe next time! It was still really awesome to see the sign and the Hollywood Hills.We even drove down Rodeo Drive on the way. Not as impressive as I had imagined, but the houses nearby are gorgeous! I enjoyed getting a glimpse of the California real estate market in real life.

 

Turns out we were staying a block away from the Academy Awards for Oscar Sunday. We had no idea until we were there and they kept mentioning it at the studio tour. Turns out the Oscars are a pretty big deal in Los Angeles. We were so close to the action that the street our Airbnb was on was actually blocked off. We had to show proof to a cop that we were staying there — that was first. Too bad we didn’t see any celebrities! From now on the Oscars will be way more interesting.

I’m already ready for our next cross country adventure! As long as our flights are much smoother. I’d love to go back to Los Angeles. San Francisco, Laguna Beach, and Napa top the list as well among others. So much to see, so little airline miles! All the more reason we’re working towards financial freedom. So we have the freedom to travel and experience the world! It feels so much better to travel without debt.

Until next time, we’ll be dreaming about (and planning) our next trip!

Where’s your next adventure!?

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Monthly Favorites | January 2018

Monthly Favorites | January 2018

This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here.

January has been full of so many awesome things! The start of a fresh year, motivation for new goals, and some pretty fantastic things that have made my life easier and more flourishing. That’s the point of these monthly favorites posts — to share what’s working for me with you! Lets help each other flourish! Here’s 5 things I’ve been loving this month

Steamer

I’m not sure how I’ve gone almost 26 years without one. Well for a majority of those years I didn’t have to worry about it, but ya know. My adult life has greatly improved with this handy tool. I used some of my Christmas giftcards to order this steamer off Amazon and I’m a big fan! I definitely wanted one that would be affordable, simple to use, compact enough to travel with and use on the daily if needed, and work well. This one hits all the marks!

So far I used it on a pair of white jeans and a delicate white shirt that has a sheer overlay. With both pieces the wrinkles came out in just a few minutes. The steamer heats up quickly (it says within 2 minutes, but it seems a lot faster to me!) and gets to work. I’ve never been an ironing girl, so this is a major win! No more wrinkly clothes when we’re traveling or just too lazy to get out the iron and board. If you don’t have one already, you should probably add it to your Amazon cart, like now.

E-Cloth Home Cleaning Set

In an effort to detoxify our home and our products and to be less wasteful, I was on a search for a cleaning product that would meet both those needs. I’ve always just used the disinfecting wipes or different cleaner sprays with paper towels. I saw these in someone’s Instagram story that was thinking about trying Norwex, but didn’t want to deal with the cost.

I’ve used the kitchen cloth a few times now and am transitioning to using the others as well. This 8 piece set includes pretty much everything you would need to clean your home. Each cloth is for a different area (two Glass and Polishing Cloths, a Kitchen Cloth with scrubbing pocket, a Bathroom Cloth, a Window Cloth, a Dusting Cloth, a Stainless Steel Cloth, and a Range and Stovetop Cloth) and they are labeled on the cloth so you don’t have to remember, although you’ll learn the more you use them.

They only need water, remove 99% of bacteria, and are guaranteed for 300 machine washings. Less wasteful: check. Non-toxic: check. I’m excited to use them more throughout our home!

Essential oils

The more I learn about and use essential oils, the more I fall in love. I ordered a starter kit from Young Living in November, so I’m still new to EO, but I’m incorporating them more and more into our life and home. I love diffusing them instead of candles to freshen up a room and assist with whatever I’m needing at the moment (some faves are a sleepy blend in our bedroom for sleep or Purification in the kitchen when I’m cleaning or cooking). I’ve also made a few different roller blends: Sleep Tight, Glowing Skin, Happy Tummy, Early Mornings.

We had a sick house over the holidays and having the starter oils gave me so much peace of mind. When you’re not feeling good, you’re willing to try anything to feel better, right? Anything I could do to boost our immunities and give some relief was done. I was amazed by the oils’ powers to support our bodies. I’ve got my eye on more oils to add to my collection based on recommendations and different healthy DIYs I want to try. Need to budget them in first of course 😉

Simplified Planner

I’ve been a planner girl for as long as I can remember. I always have my phone on me, but I just need that pen and paper to keep my life straight. This is my first year using a Simplified Planner by Emily Ley and I’m not sure I can ever go back to anything else.

I adore this planner for a couple big reasons first being the heart behind it. I love Emily Ley as a person (don’t know her, but wish we were best friends). She’s on a mission to help women simplify their lives so that they can focus on what matters most. Yes please! Not to mention, the planner is beautiful! I look forward to using it and making progress through my days. It helps me stay organized through my busy days without feeling overwhelmed. I can just take it a day at a time and do my best.

Small Group

I am absolutely loving our small group! We finally launched our Young Married Couples Small Group on January 11th and it’s incredible! There is something so special about face to face community. I’m especially excited that it’s a group of people that are at the same life stage as we are: young, married, no kids yet. I think it’s important to surround yourself with people of all stages because we can all learn from one another, but it’s also important to have those people that are walking the same path at the same time. When we go through struggles, we have a group of people that can help carry us through. When we’re celebrating victories, we have a group of people that can cheer us on!

In our digital world it’s becoming more and more difficult to have those face to face interactions. We live busy lives and can feel a simliar connection through the power of social media, but nothing can ever replace in person. Grab coffee with a girlfriend, seek out a small group in your area, or even start a group of your own! We all crave community and connection and it’s so fruitful to do life with others. 

What have you been loving lately!? Leave your favorites in the comments below ❤

The best hot chocolate | Recipe

The best hot chocolate | Recipe

Are you team egg nog or team hot chocolate?

Both have a time and place during the holiday season, but as a chocoholic, I can never say no to chocolate! Especially one this good.

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Recently there was picture of a Crockpot Hot Chocolate recipe floating around Facebook, so when it was time for us to get together with my in-laws for a pre-Christmas celebration, I thought that would be the perfect addition! I found a good recipe on Pinterest and adapted it to make it work for us.

Yall. This hot chocolate is ahhh-mazing! I’m forever spoiled. That instant stuff + hot water will not longer cut it (I mean, it never really did, but definitely not gonna happen now). I was nervous about this recipe because a) I’ve never made anything like it and b) I was trying it out for the first time with a group of people. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, but I’m so happy to say it was easy peasy AND tasted delicious!

The Best Crockpot Hot Chocolate

Serves 8-12 people (depending on how big the mugs are) 😉

  • 16 fl oz heavy whipping cream
  • 5.5 cups 1% milk
  • 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (I used a mix of milk chocolate and semi sweet)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Any desired extras (I put out marshmallows and candy canes!)

Add all ingredients to your Crockpot. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours, stirring frequently). Once chips are melted and mixed in, you can reduce to low. Serve and add in any extras — enjoy! If serving later or people are helping themselves at different times, put the crockpot on the “warm” setting so it’s not piping hot.

Know what’s wonderful about this recipe?? It’s amazing when it’s made, but it’s also just as good reheated later! Yes, I enjoyed delicious hot chocolate even days after I originally made it! I overestimated the amount to hot chocolate we would need, so we actually had a lot left over. We put the remaining into glass cups (or any microwave safe container) that we reheated in the microwave later. Reheat for 1 minute, stir, and reheat longer as needed. How perfect!?

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This is now a must have for the holidays and I can’t wait for the many memories we’ll make in the years to come with this delicious hot chocolate in hand. Family Christmas movie nights, driving around to view lights, opening presents. I can just see it now ❤

What’s your favorite Christmas memory?

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