Here’s to a Strong 2018



Happy 2018! This year I have decided to take my advice from last year and instead of making a list of resolutions, I am going to apply a general theme to my year and life. This year my theme is STRENGTH. 

2017 was an interesting year. I feel like I was pretty good with my presence mantra throughout the year, but I did fall short a bit. Emotionally, 2017 was trying and I will be honest I’m not too sad to see it go. Bring on the bright and shiny new 2018.

Strong isn’t necessarily a word I would use do describe myself. I have moments when I help my husband lift something heavy and feel like I can hold my own. Otherwise, when it comes to things like will power, pressure and the fear of disappointing someone, strength isn’t my strong suit. 

With that being said, I am ready to embrace this whole strength thing because I’m going to need it this year. There are some big things on the horizon. This is the year my son turns double digits (cry face) and at the end of the year will start his last year in elementary school (ugly cry face). We hope to travel some more over the summer. I’m hoping for some new career opportunities as well as growing our current business and last but not least I turn 40 this year (monkey covering his eyes emoji). See what I mean about the needing it part? I’ll jump right in with my intentions for strength this year. Since I can’t get rid of lists completely, I will at least outline how I want to apply this theme to the important parts of my life.


I want our little foursome (fivesome if you include the pup) to connect this year. We tend to break off in pairs, my husband with my son and me with my daughter and then meet up all four together. I really want to make it a point for both my husband and I to spend one-on-one time with each kiddo and find something we really enjoy doing together to strengthen our little family. I also want my marriage to be stronger than ever and have quite a few ideas for this, one being making sure we hug and kiss in front of the kids more often. I want them to understand how important it is to show affection to the ones you love. 


This one is very important as well. I am going to work very hard to build our little business. I want this year to be full of new and exciting things. I also want to move forward with some of my own career ideas. That also includes making time for this little blog.


I want to make sure I put in great effort to have real purpose in all the relationships in my life. I want the dialogue to be open and meaningful. So many times we get lost in the day-to-day and really don’t connect with the friends and people in our life. The only real time with one another is when we are involved with our child’s activities. I would like to work on really setting time aside to enjoy my friends and fellow moms. These relationships are such an integral part of this chapter in my life, and I feel they deserve more of my time and attention. I also want to be strong when it comes to sometimes having to say “no”. This can be difficult, especially when you are a people-pleaser, and I am horrible at it, but in order for my kids to know how to be strong in their own convictions, they have to see it and I want to be the one to show them.


I am so ready for strength in this portion of my life. During the holiday’s and well 2017 in general, I really fell short when it came to exercise and healthy eating. Maybe it was emotional, maybe it was just laziness, either way, I am SO ready to be back in the gym at least 5 days a week. My goal is to be the strongest I’ve been by my birthday (I have 9 months). I will document some of the journey here, to hold myself accountable. I’m back to meal prepping and gym classes and it feels great.

I’m ready for you 2018 and all the things you have in store for us. Let’s hope I’ve got the muscle to handle it!


Back to School Goals


We reached the end of yet another wonderful and memorable summer. I feel so lucky that we are able to spend the summer with our family making amazing memories. This summer was no different. We were able to take a trip to the Keys, a trip to the beach and one last stop at the river. To say we have had a great summer is an understatement. Now with our hair lighter, our skin tanner and our hearts much fuller we find ourselves diving head-first into the new school year. 

Since I was in school myself, I have always looked forward to the start of a new school year. I get the same fresh-start feeling I do in January. I have decided to take the idea of a fresh-start and turn it into a New School Year-New Resolutions tradition. I tend to internally set new goals at the start of the school year but this time I will put them here to keep me accountable. 

With two kids now in elementary school, it is important to set up routines and schedules so that the school year goes smoothly. With that in mind, reading and homework are going to be really crucial this year. Establishing great study habits early will help now and in the long run to create great learners. Here are some of our goals for school and homework.

Set minimum reading times. Both of my kids are required to read for at least 20 minutes each night. We are going to go ahead and set this at 30 for everyone. My fourth grader will read his books to himself and I will help read to and have my first-grader read to me each school night.

Set a specific time for just homework. When the kids get home from the bus, after their snack, homework is the first thing we work on. Once it is complete, they can play outside/watch tv, etc until dinner. 

Set ourselves up for stress-free mornings. This is a big one. I am not a night person at all but one of my main goals is to get as much done the night before as possible, to make sure our mornings are somewhat seamless. That means I will make sure lunches are done the night before. This really helps get us out the door more quickly in the morning.

I also, put the kids clothes in a hanging closet organizer for the week so all they have to do is grab them and put them on in the morning. 

Dinner. Another thing that over the summer we have really gone away from is eating dinner together as a family. During the summer when we weren’t in our own space we would tend to eat in shifts. I would cook for the kids then eat later with the adults. During the school year the rule is we all sit down and eat dinner TOGETHER with NO ELECTRONICS. I’m hoping we can all discuss our day with one another and just really connect. 

Meal Plan. This helps us save money and really eat healthier. I’m going to start a Pinterest board for new recipes the whole family will like.

On the health front I have certainly imbibed this summer and need to get back on track. I am going to get back into the gym and my classes each day during the week before work. It makes such a difference and I’ve been missing the routine. 

So those are a few of our goals. The summer definitely lacked routine so getting back on a schedule will be great for the whole family. The kids may complain about certain things but I know they thrive when they are part of a structured environment. 

It is hard to believe the summer is already over. Before we know it, we will be in the thick of the holiday season. It is certainly true what they say, the days may be long but the years are short. 


New Year New Mantra



This year I don’t have a list of resolutions. Each year I check each one off much to my satisfaction, but again it is usually a long list and I feel the normal guilt, disappointment when there are things left unchecked. I’ve decided this year I am only going to try to take one idea and put it to work in all aspects of my life.


I am really going to push myself to be present in every aspect of my life. Present as a mother, wife, business owner, friend and family member. I am putting my phone down and watching the cartwheels, the skateboard tricks and the looks on my kids faces when they are happy, sad, excited or mad. The way their shoulders shrug when I ask them to sit down and do their homework, the way their eyes light up when I say we can have breakfast for dinner and especially the way they look at me when they know I’m proud of them. These moments are fleeting and I don’t want to miss a thing. I want to play with them, let them know they are important and really work hard at getting them ready for the crazy world in front of them. 

 I understand that being able to do this means that I am going to have to say “no” sometimes. Saying “no” is not easy for a person who says “yes” A LOT. But being present with my family means I may be absent from other areas in my life, and I’m not upset one bit. I know that saying “yes” so much means trying to do lots and lots of things none of which are done at 100%. I want to be at least close to 100% at just a few things- being a wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend and business owner. I am totally good with that. Because that is what matters to me right now. 

This might mean that you will hear me say “no” to you, but please know it isn’t because I don’t love you, it is because I have got to say “yes” to family time, “yes” to the watching the cartwheels and skateboard tricks and “yes” to putting my family first. 

Happy New Year!


2016 Year in Review

This year has been a doozie. We have had our share of ups and downs and I’m looking forward to a new start in 2017.

Here are some of our favorite memories from 2016. 


The highlight of this month was a special birthday surprise for our Princess. We had so much fun as a family exploring Disney World. It really is true that you really see the magic through the eyes of your children. They had so much fun.




This month was all baseball all the time. When we weren’t at practice or games we were putting in extra time at the batting cages.  We also celebrated Little Man’s eighth birthday. 



Spring Break was the highlight of this month. We froze at the beach but enjoyed spending time as a family. This month also started the Orlando City Season.


The definite highlight of this month was the purchase of our new boat! We love this boat and try to get on it as often as possible.


We celebrated a birthday and a Spring recital. 


This little one graduated from VPK.



One word to describe this month – Keys.



Back to school and we welcomed this little cutie to the family.


This was the month of the farmer’s market. We went several times and I never get tired of this skyline.



We celebrated my birthday as well as Halloween.




Thanksgiving and a new hair color were the highlights this month. 




Party was the main theme this month. We went to several holiday celebrations that were great fun. We are also now very tired and I am ready for a fresh start in the new year. I am sure there will be a resolution post soon as I seem to be consistent with those. Hopefully this year will be the year of more blogging. Fingers crossed.

See you in 2017!


Summer Vacation 2016: What We Brought

I think our summer vacation was successful in large part due to the time we took to get the right gear to take. We have taken many trips to the Keys and have learned a lot each time. I think now we know exactly what to pack and what we need to make our lives easy and fun while on vacation.



So every time our kids have gone out on a boat they have been absolutely miserable in their life vests. They must wear them on the boat so I knew this was one item I was going to have to shop around for in order to get the best one. In previous years the ones we had for the kids were very bulky and cumbersome and when they wanted to rest the vest would always rub them in the face. I looked all over, at Academy Sports, West Marine and even Amazon for slimmer vests. I finally just happened upon two in Target and they turned out to be perfect!! The link to hers is here. This is what it looks like on. Very slim and comfy! She had no problems wearing it constantly.IMG_1409


Here is hisIMG_1415

We wore our bathing suits A LOT. It was basically our uniform for the month. I got most of the kids suits at Target and Old Navy. I brought 5 suits each so I didn’t have to do laundry every second (I actually ended up doing laundry every second anyway). 


Here was my outfit pretty much every day. 





I absolutely love the Athleta Twister Bikini. It has the best support and still looks really cute. I have one in Jazzy Purple (shown above) and also Electric Jade. I don’t think I will ever buy another suit top. I bought the Shirred Bottom in Electric Jade and also bought these bottoms from Target and just mix and matched. 50726464


My sunglasses

You MUST have polarized sunglasses to be out on the boat all day. I mean I guess you don’t have to but it makes such a difference in the water color and you can actually see really far into the water while wearing them. These are very comfy and unlike my cheap aviators I normally wear I don’t squint at all. They are cute and protective at the same time. This company is really great to because they have a lifetime warranty! You can read about it here! My whole family loves Costa’s and they are never more perfect than in the Keys. Here is what they look like on.FullSizeRender

Shoes for the Boat

These are tricky because most boat shoes aren’t really adorable. I wanted to find something with a light bottom so it wouldn’t scuff the boat but really needed to grip well and and also be a little cute. These were perfect and extremely comfortable! I just threw them on each day and they had a great grip!

I wore the shirt in the collage as a cover up (along with a rotation of 4 others) and threw on the earrings and I was good to go.

Normally, on all my other trips I would leave off my wedding rings completely. Swimming and snorkeling, I found myself holding on to them so they wouldn’t fall off and I just couldn’t do what I wanted while in the water. Before this trip I came across Qalo rings and ordered one for myself and one for my husband. They are PERFECT. I could wear this and it stays on tight, doesn’t shimmer in the water (hello barracuda) and if it were to slip off I wouldn’t be heartbroken (only $20). I still wear mine every day when I go to the gym. These are so perfect!FullSizeRender


We all had masks, snorkels and fins for the trip. I got these before we left and they were great. The mouthpiece did come off somewhat easily but it wasn’t enough to be a real problem.IMG_1821

Every day we loaded up the boat to head out. I used two of these Thirty One bags every day  to carry what we needed and they were perfect. One held towels and the other one held sunscreen, a grocery bag with snacks, any extra swim shirts, and drink koozies. 

Another item I wouldn’t be able to live without is this waterproof  phone case. It was perfect. I even loved it just to keep my phone from getting wet while on the boat. The underwater pictures turned out pretty good too!IMG_7347


Food and Drink


You definitely need one of these if you go on a boat, to the beach or anywhere you take your cooler. They are perfect for keeping things like sandwiches (or limes) from getting soggy in the melting ice portion of the cooler. There are also Tacklewebs for your boat. These are great for keeping things organized while you are on the water.IMG_1681

If you are visiting the Keys during the summer it is really really hot and if you enjoy beer I would recommend bringing lots of koozies. I normally keep some in my purse because even restaurants have a tough time keeping beer cold. It is just really hot. Having koozies handy really helps. IMG_7323


If you forget one, some places will loan one to you.

They even have koozies for wine glasses!IMG_1473

Another item for keeping drinks cold is a Yeti or RTIC cup. We used these every single day. They keep drinks cold even overnight. We have both Yeti’s and RTIC’s and we didn’t notice a difference. They both work great! I also brought one of these bottles and we used it to mix up margaritas and mimosas. IMG_1537

So that is a little look into what we took on vacation that really helped to make our lives a bit easier.  I know that when you are prepared from the start, you are able to spend more time having fun. If you decide to take a Keys trip or any boat trip really, maybe some of these things will help you too.IMG_1653

Here are the other posts if you missed them!

Summer Vacation 2016: Where We Stayed

Summer Vacation 2016: What We Did

Summer Vacation 2016: What We Ate


Summer Vacation 2016: What We Did

Our Keys trip was really jam packed. We really made the most of every day. We found a routine and went with it. 

Unless the weather didn’t cooperate we went out on the boat at least one time a day. Whether it be snorkeling, fishing, or just riding around, we really wanted to get on the water as much as possible. 

Our days pretty much went like this.

8-8:30- Get up and moving. Coffee and breakfast and taking our time.IMG_1423

9-10 – This was normally my exercise time. I would either walk or do my own “boot camp” style workouts outside using this app.  
11:00 -Pack up the boat and head out to snorkel, fish, and hit the sandbar. I did paddle board one day also!









4-5 – Head back home, swim in the pool shower up.

6-7 – Make and eat dinner.

10:00- Lights out and then start all over again the next day.

These were typical days but we did manage to get some other things in too. 

One day it rained a bunch so we couldn’t go out. That day was filled with lots of “Crazy Eights”.


One day we went to the Turtle Hospital in Marathon. This was great for the kids. We learned a lot about different turtles and what we can do to keep them safe.IMG_7291






We also took a couple of trips to Key West. Although it was very very hot, we did have a good time. IMG_7298






We mostly ate in on this trip and I cannot say how great this was. As much as I LOVE going out to dinner it was so much easier to not have to get everyone cleaned, dressed and packed up into the car after a long day outside. We used the grill A LOT and it was perfect!

We also took the boat back out a couple of times after dinner to catch the sunsets. So perfect!!IMG_7326




We had such a great time. There are so many things to do in the Keys. Even if you don’t have a boat there are tons of ways to get out on the water. Hiring a charter is easy and there are plenty! I think just being together every day was great for us. We have been to the Keys many many times without a boat and we still enjoyed ourselves. 

This will definitely go down as one of the best vacations we have ever taken. Such a great time.

If you missed where we stayed it is here.

Next up – what we ate!


Summer Vacation 2016: Where We Stayed

We just returned from a wonderful month-long vacation in Big Pine Key, Florida. We had a truly unforgettable time. We were so fortunate to be able to take this trip and we really made the most of the time we had together. I’m going to devote a few posts to our vacation. I’ll share where we stayed, what we did, what we ate and what we brought.  I am by no means an expert only using this as a way to share our experience.

We used HomeAway Vacation Rentals to book our house. We stayed here and we couldn’t ask for a better place. Our family of four stayed the whole month, and we split the weeks of the month up with friends and family who shared the house with us one to two weeks at a time. This house was perfect for 8 people. We didn’t feel cramped and everyone had their own space. You can see the inside from the listing. What made this house though was the backyard. The pool was perfect to entertain the kids when we weren’t out on the boat (and perfect to hop in after a long day out). The tiki hut was a great place to relax and be outside without being too hot and miserable. The dock and sea wall provided the perfect amount of space for the two boats we had and the landscaping was just beautiful.IMG_7232









Outdoor Shower




Big Pine Key is located in the Lower Keys about 30 miles north of Key West. You can see from the map where it is in relationship to the other Keys and South Florida. Big Pine definitely has a very laid back vibe. You don’t go for the nightlife and restaurants like in the Upper Keys or Key West. You are definitely there to enjoy being out on the water each day and resting each night to do it all over again.

We took our boat out almost every day and it was incredible. We brought our masks, fins, snorkels and fishing poles then each day we set out on adventure. There are so many things to explore by boat. Where we stayed is the “Start” and each day we would head out and try new things. We would go to the patch reefs that were very close. The water wasn’t as clear but there were so many fish to see while snorkeling. 
Map 2

Our favorite by far was Looe Key. It took us about 35 minutes to get there each time but it was worth the trip. The water is so beautiful and there are so many different types of fish, coral and sea life. It is part of the Florida Keys National Marine SanctuaryIMG_1831





The sandbar was also a favorite. The kids swam and explored and the grown-ups floated and relaxed.

We really enjoyed staying in Big Pine. It was perfect for what we wanted do to. I really enjoy staying in the Upper Keys too though. But if we are going to stay for longer than a week we will definitely head south and stay here.

Tomorrow I will share what we did while we were there. 



Summer 2016 Bucket List

I cannot believe the summer is almost over. Our kiddos go back to school on Monday and man it feels like we just celebrated the end of the year. We have had an amazing fun-filled summer.

We knew our Keys trip would take up the bulk of our summer but that didn’t mean we weren’t going to get in as much summer fun as possible.

Here is our Summer Bucket List chalkboard. IMG_0958

And here it is now that we have reached the end of a really memorable summer.IMG_1943

We did almost everything on the list!

Library 1x a week – Before we left for our vacation we made sure to go to the library at least once a week. I really wanted to keep their reading going so they keep sharp for the new school year. 

Movies – We saw 2 movies. One before we left “Finding Dory” and one when we got back “The Secret Life of Pets”. The kids love movies and when it is brutally hot outside, it is definitely nice to have a cool place to escape for a couple of hours.

Bowl – This was a fun one! The bowling alley here had a program where the kids could bowl for free during the summer! You pay for the shoe rental ($4) and you get two free games. Parents pay $2 for games and $3 shoe rental. It was such a great deal! It was also great to change it up and do something different and  be indoors (see brutally hot above).IMG_7202


Splash Pad – One of the YMCA’s in our area has a Fun Pool that includes a waterfall, water canons and all kinds of fun splashing. The kids took a quick swim test then they were able to swim around. This was perfect. I went to my kickboxing class then after we changed into our suits and played in the water for a bit. 

Eat popsicles – No brainer. This happened quite a bit. I even think they were breakfast a couple of times #norulessummer.

Golf – This is one we didn’t get to. Boo. This is one of my New Year’s Resolutions too!! I have got to get to the course soon.

Paddle Board – I got to do this in the Keys. I LOVE paddle boarding. Not only is the scenery beautiful but it is a great workout too!

Fish – We did this in the Keys too! IMG_7395

Go Tubing – Sadly we didn’t get to this one either. We will have to save it for next summer.

Beach – Yes! We only had a couple of actual days at the beach. But the time we spent there was fun.

Zoo – We didn’t make it to the zoo this year. We just ran out of time! I tell you this summer seemed super short!!

Picnic – We actually did this unintentionally. The park we planned on going to was closed so we just threw down a towel and had an impromptu picnic outside the gates. IMG_7212

Keys – Yes! I will have a few posts on this.

Ride Bikes – Absolutely! Think we are close to having two kids without training wheels over here. Lookout neighborhood, these kiddos are coming!

Make lemonade – We did this too. Although the kids think I don’t make it sweet enough. #sugaraddicts

Make s’mores – We made these and took them on a sunset cruise in the Keys. So fun.IMG_1586


Get ice cream – We did this plenty of times too!IMG_7191


I would say we have had a very successful and exciting summer. We have made so many amazing memories and I can only hope my kids look back on these times and remember how much fun we had being together.

I’m sad to see summer go but I will be honest, I am really looking forward to getting back into routines, schedules and activities that come with the school year. 

Hoping you had a fun and memorable summer too!




We’ve had a rough couple of weeks over here but I have never been more proud of the city we call home. I was broken-hearted glued to the TV that Sunday as all the gruesome details unfolded. But by the end of the day I was just amazed with the resilience and support this community showed with lines upon lines at all the local blood banks. We are strong and hate will not win. 

I grew up in Central Florida and have always been happy to call this place my home. Now more than ever though, I am proud of my city, proud of my neighbors, and proud of everyone that has shown that humanity is alive and well here. We do and will continue take care of each other.

I’ve been holding my loved ones a little closer and a little longer lately. I want them to know that love is stronger than hate.IMG_1066

Stand With Orlando






A Day In The Life

I really love reading these types of posts because I’m a blog-stalker. I thought I would give it a try too for my own selfish reasons. I want to document one random Tuesday at this point in my life so I can look back and remember how fun and busy these days are. I might be pulling my hair out now, but one day (too soon I’m sure) I will really miss these crazy days. I took all of these pictures with my phone and my house is dark, so not winning any photography awards I know.


6:34 Wake Up. This is really a little late for me. I normally try to get up at 6:00 to have some peace and quiet before the craziness of the day begins but some days I need the extra z’s.IMG_0227

6:38 First things first. Coffee. We just recently got this Nespresso machine and I am in love. I was really happy with our Keurig but we were visiting my girlfriend who had a Nespresso and my husband decided it was a must-have. We found one on clearance at Target and haven’t looked back since. The coffee is really delicious.


The foam is super pretty too.IMG_9873

7:00 I wake up the munchkins. Sometimes they will creep out around 6:45 but normally I have to wake them up on school days (weekends of course they are up at 6:30). They grab blankets and watch TV on the sofa while I make their breakfast. This usually consists of waffles or pancakes with bacon, eggs and fruit. Milk to drink.

7:27 Pack lunches. Little Man will eat at school most days but I have to pack a lunch for The Princess as her school only provides lunch one day a week. Here are what her lunches normally look like. There is also ham hiding in there somewhere.IMG_0230

Between 7:30 and 7:45 the kids finish eating and get themselves ready to go (not without being asked multiple times). Mornings are tough. 

8:07 Out the door. Here is my first breakfast. Looks gross but will hold me over until after my exercise class.  Half of a banana with almond butter.IMG_0231

8:15 Leave to take the kids to school. Cuties.IMG_0233

8:55 Once the kids are dropped off I stop by the post office to get some stamps and send a certified letter. IMG_0235

10:00 Bootcamp at the gym. This is such a tough class but I always feel great once I’m done. It is a 45 minute class with a mix of cardio and strength training. IMG_0236

10:48 Not bad for 45 minutes.



11:08 Second breakfast. This is a smoothie with almond milk, spinach, frozen bananas, strawberries, protein powder and almond butter. IMG_9636

11:25 I put a pork shoulder in the crock pot. This is going to be a long day with ballet and baseball so dinner being ready when we get home is crucial. I just used a boneless pork shoulder, seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon pepper. I added about 1/2 cup chicken broth and called it a day.IMG_0239

12:30 Hair appointment. Love the chandelier at the salon I go to.IMG_0241

2:30 Lunch is on the go. I packed a cooler (I use this one) because I needed to include snacks for the after-school activities for the kiddos too. I ate this in the car after my appointment on the way to pick up Little Miss. This is romaine lettuce, broccoli slaw, cucumber, avocado, carrots tomatoes and deli turkey. IMG_0394

3:56 On our way to ballet. This normally happens on the drive. Sleepy girl 😉IMG_0242

4:30 Ballet and tap time. I usually take this time to check emails and make phone calls while I wait. On this particular day I didn’t go into my physical office so I had a little bit of housekeeping to take care of while our little ballerina twirled away. Other times I bring my IMG_02445:30 Leave ballet and head to a baseball game. Little Man ate pizza and rode with one of his teammates (it takes a village) so he could be there on time and with a full belly. My husband was out of town this day so it was just me and I needed a little help from my village.

6:15 Baseball time. Unfortunately, we didn’t win this game but the boys played hard and I am always super proud of my little guy. Luckily there are several sisters that stick together during the games so Little Princess stays occupied and because of my little cooler she has a full belly too 😉


The games normally last an hour and a half which I think is pretty late for 8 year-old-boys on a school night but we survive. After the game we head home.

8:47 Dinner. Pork roast, rice, lima beans and avocado. I also cut up Wickles Pickles in mine. Wine is definitely a must after this day. The kids have pork and rice too.IMG_0256

9:00 The kids are beat and I put them to bed. I am right behind them.

9:15 Watch “Fixer Upper” for about 5 minutes before falling asleep. Night.

Not every day is this full. Tuesday’s seem to be our really busy days with after school activities. Some days of the week are super boring because I am in the office all day, others may include field trips, marketing for business and errands. I’m so lucky that what we do allows some flexibility so that I am able to really enjoy this time with the kids. I love seeing them grow and learn new things even if it means I put 100 miles on the car in a day 😉

Hoping your days include at least one thing that makes you happy too.