Friday, April 29, 2011

Birthday Boy & Happy Friday

It's Friday... wait, already?  I mean, I am happy it's here, but my oh my, time has just been flying by lately!

I don't know if it's a mix of being back home after being gone for so long and seeing my friends and family again, or being back at work, or just the excitement of everything that is coming up in our life in the next few months... but I feel like I just can't catch up with time :)

Today, is my very sweet little nephew, Ryan's, Birthday!  I cannot believe our little guy is 2 years old.  It seems like yesterday that I was visiting my sister in the hospital and she showed me this tiny little baby in her arms for the first time.  It was such a miracle.  He makes me so happy!  
He is such a sweet, loving, and good kid.  I love him so much!
One of my favorite pictures of him from his 1st Birthday!
He's such a doll!

Also coming up in the next few months is my sister, Jul & Matt's wedding!
I get so excited thinking about it and I cannot wait for her bridal shower next weekend.  We are having it at our house and I am so excited to get everything decorated and special for her.  She's a beautiful person!  All of the festivities are just getting into full swing: 2 bridal showers, a fabulous bachelorette party, and of course, the week of activities!
This weekend is full of love.  I have Ry's Birthday, 2 baby showers, and an end of the year party with my Junior League gals!

I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Giveaway: My favorite perfume!

Who's smelled Miss Marisa perfume before?  
Heard of it before?  
It's made by an adorable company called Ebba Los Angeles.  It started really tiny, but now big stars (Amanda Seyfried, Kourtney Kardashian, Carmen Electra and Taylor Jacobsen) are wearing and talking about it and it's been featured in InStyle Magazine, Lucky, US Weekly and all over the place.  I've smelled all of the scents, but my favorite is Miss Marisa!

I am so excited to do a giveaway! {my second giveaway ever, woo}
If you win, you get a bottle of Miss Marisa 
{or any scent you want}
(the packaging is adorable, too)

Here's how to enter:
1. Be a follower on my blog (1 entry)
2. Follow @shopebba on twitter and mention the giveaway and shopebba.com {they just started their twitter yesterday} (2 entries) 
3. Follow ShopEbba.com on Facebook (1 entry)
4. Write a blog post about shopebba.com and the giveaway (5 entries)
{make sure you leave a comment letting me know if you do these}

The giveaway ends next Friday, May 6th at 4pm!

Monday, April 25, 2011

My favorite part of Easter...

was this little handsome man...
My nephew!  
He is getting SO big.
I hadn't seen him in over a month, and I almost died when I did.
Isn't he adorable?!
 He will be 2 on April 29th... 
this was his first Easter Egg Hunt!
 (with my BIL showing off his eggs)
He's such a sweet pea!

Hope you had a good holiday weekend.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Our first stop: Munich, Germany

I feel like I have been gone so long, I have a million things to do, but I want to start remembering the trip and writing things down so I don't forget :)
Who's been to Munich?  Isn't it amazing?

We stayed at the Sheraton Munich, and we learned how to take the underground everywhere from the airport!  I love their public transportation systems... we didn't even take a taxi until the last leg of the trip 3 weeks in :)

We landed in the late afternoon and wasted no time getting out of the hotel and getting lost until we found an amazing restaurant.  Success!  

We loved it so much, we stayed there for a couple hours...
 Inside the brauhaus... it was an older one!
 Some of the best beer I have ever tasted!
 I gave up being a veg on this trip and just enjoyed the food!  This "pizza" look alike is made with yeast from the beer.
Our walk back to the hotel was beautiful!

We were lucky to spend 4 days here - we saw (and ate) so many wonderful things.  We are the touristy people who love those "City Sightseeing" buses.  We hoped on one of those and started exploring.
TL needed his latte, so he was quick to find a little coffee shack ;)
 Olympia Park in Munich is a must see!  The 1972 Summer Olympics were held here and the grounds are amazing.  This is Olympic Tower and it stretches 290 meters tall.  The elevator in the tower goes 7 meters/second (fast!).
 The BMW Factory - employs 96,000 people world wide, 24,000 of them work there.  It takes 40 hours to make one car!  (If I am remembering correctly) ;)
 On top of the tower.  We were so lucky with the weather we had - sunny & clear!
 You may remember what happened during the '72 olympics... The "Munich Massacre" when the members of the Israeli team were taken hostage and murdered.  It happened in the Olympic Village and where they were murdered is now a memorial area.
 The grounds are huge - and beautiful!
 We loved the unique architecture. 
 This is the pool where US Swimmer Mark Spitz set the world record for most gold medals (before Phelps, of course)
 I love traveling with this guy.
 The famous Hofbrauhaus... a MUST visit for anyone going to Munich!
 Tim and his weenies... haha.
The architecture is just beautiful!
 The famous hafbrauhaus one liter beers!
 I loved this city...
 Flowers were in bloom everywhere which reminded me of my mom!
We loved this city!!

What a beautiful first stop - we could definitely go back there someday.  The people were friendly, the food was delicious, and there was so much to see & do!
I miss Munich already.
Hope you're having a wonderful weekend... sorry for the long post.

xoxo

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Guest Post: Vacationing on the East Coast

Hey Girls! It’s me, Jess
I was so honored when Tracy asked me to do a guest blog for her while she goes on her little vaca!! Tracy’s blog was one of the first blogs that I started reading when I first started my own little bloggy diary a year ago! NOW I consider Tracy to be SUCH a great friend to HAVE on muh TEAM.

Ok so let’s get started! Let’s face it, we are ALLL craving vacations! There is a place in particular
that I am extra crazy about and that is a quaint little family beach in Wilmington, NC. Has anyone ever
been or heard of Wrightsville Beach? You Nicholas Sparks fans may recall opening up some of his books
and reading about stories based on Wilmington, NC. Wrightsville Beach is also the location where
Dawson’s Creek was filmed! Remember the opening credits when the entire cast is walking on the beach to “I Don’t Want to Wait”….that was my beach people!! Haha.

My family and I have been vacationing at Wrightsville for as long as I have been in this world.
We stay at the SAME condo, Carolina Temple Apartments - every year where we are on a first name
basis with the owners! It is not your regular fancy- smancie hotel or condos because of the history and
how many years the condos are but it is like my SECOND HOME!! I look forward to going every single
year!! And it is a place where I hope to someday take my future children on vacation. I have sooo much
history and memories of that place and that beach that I could go on and on and bore you to pieces
about WHY I LOVE GOING THERE SO MUCH…but instead I thought I would leave you with some pictures to SHOW you instead.

I cannot wait for Tracy to get back so she can tell us all about her vacation and we can see all the
pictures because knowing her I am sure she did amazing things!!

Now go and book your trip to Wrightsville Beach, NC and tell them Jess sent you!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I'm Back!!

Holy Moly it feels like forever since I have been on here!

TL and I just returned from a month long adventure through Europe.  It was an incredible trip - and we feel so blessed to have the opportunity to see more of the world together.  We went to 9 countries/cities:
 Munich, Vienna, Prague, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, London, Edinburgh, & Dublin.  

Each one was unique and beautiful... and we were totally lucky with the weather!  It only rained on us twice and only for a very short period of time :)

Can't wait to share stories & pictures... and can't wait to catch up with everyone in the blogging world.

Thank you to all of the fabulous guest writers - I loved reading about all the wonderful places they have visited!

More coming soon... for now: unpacking, laundry, sleeping, and back to work!

(on top of the Olympic Tower in Munich, Germany... this was our first stop on the trip)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Guest Post: Vacationing in St. Lucia

First things first, I am so excited to be guest blogging for Tracy! Usually you can find me blogging over as Jax at The Roaring Twenties from Tulsa, OK.  :) I've been following Tracy since before she got married to TL, which is crazy to think about! :) Anyhoo, I consider her one of my best blogging friends and am thrilled to be guest blogging...

Tracy asked me to blog about my favorite vacation spot and I am going to have to work hard to keep this blog concise b/c I could go on and on about this place and how much I loved it- St. Lucia!


My boyfriend, Eric, and I went to Maui last fall and while it was definitely an extremely close call, I think I'm going to go with St. Lucia if I can only pick one...

Eric and I traveled to St. Lucia in the summer of 2009 and actually stayed three places during our trip. I know that sounds kinda bizarre, but we were conflicted between two hotels, so we opted to just stay in both! And then, we found one in another area of the island and thought "why not just stay in every part of the island?!" :)

On Jalousie Beach in St. Lucia 2009 :)
So, why was St. Lucia my favorite? The culture is absolutely outstanding. They understand tourism is their main export and are so happy to have people visit! The school children wave, locals are kind, taxi drivers are the best tour guides, and crime is practically nonexistent. The island is an absolutely unspoiled beauty that maintains its culture, but has an appropriate (but not overwhelming) amount of hotels/resorts, restaurants, and things to do. I dunno about you, but I HAVE to have things to do. Sitting on a beach is awesome for a couple days, but I love exploring on vacations, too!

Waterfalls, lush pitons, picturesque beaches, a fabulous local fish-fry-turned-dance-party in the streets, an infamous bay, banana plantations, and the most amazing sunset you'll ever see... all within reach in St. Lucia!
little fishing village in St. Lucia 

I'm starting to write a novel and I haven't even told you where we stayed. We started at Coco Palm in Rodney Bay, then moved to Discovery at Marigot Bay, and finished our trip at the newly restored Jalousie Plantation. I'll link my blog posts below, but as a snippet, Discovery at Marigot Bay and Jalousie were our favorites, but we definitely loved all three... While the beach was a little smaller at Marigot, we didn't mind. The hotel was absolutely outstanding. The service was top notch, the views from our balcony were breathtaking; the small yachts and sailboats lining the dock were gorgeous. We met some amazing people traveling the world by boat-even a couple from Oklahoma! :) Oh and the local rum they greeted us with upon check-in was pretty amazing too... Just sayin... ;)

Sitting on our balcony at Discovery at Marigot Bay 
....and this was our view while we sipped our local rum on our balcony :)
We ended up staying in one of Jalousie's newly-remodeled villas. It was the quintessential modern beach villa-indoor shower, outdoor shower, romantic clawfoot tub, white linens, gorgeous deck overlooking the ocean from the mountain...oh and an awesome private plunge pool. :) We lucked into the villa and I am SO glad we did. And the beach was probably the most beautiful place I've ever seen-nestled in between the two lush green pitons...

We were really excited about the villa...haha.. (Yes, we act like this regularly. It is what it is)
Eric soaking in our villa's plunge pool
Like I said, this year, Eric and I went to Maui, which is one of the most beautiful places I have EVER been and I want to go back so badly. But, it would be a lie to say we didn't pick Maui based on the good things we found in St. Lucia-the terrain, the beaches, and the natural beauty. So, really... Maui was amazing but we may have never gone had we not first fell in love with St. Lucia. :) 

Sunset at Ladera's restaurant (hotel up in the mountains above Jalousie beach)
Okay, to stop my rambling, here's a link to my post with my St. Lucia trip posts all linked to it. :) Feel free to email me if you have any questions about St. Lucia! :) As an aside, posting all these photos made me want a tan...badly....haha.. :) Thanks for reading, friends!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Guest Post: An Adventure in Ottawa, Canada

Hello there all you lovely people. 
My name is Aly and I am so excited me to be guest posting today. I'm sure you all agree when I say that I love Tracy and her blog! It's a real honor to be here.
Before we start I'd just like to point out that the photos in this post are of my teenage self. Yes folks that means crooked teeth, zits, poor style choices ( I don't know what I was thinking) and bad hair. Brace yourselves lol
When I was fifteen years old I went through a terrible bullying experience. Boys in my class would try and beat me up or try and trip me and girls were vicious with their words. I spent most days hiding in my helpers office so that I wouldn't get hurt. At the end of school I decided it was time for me to change schools.
That summer I was accepted to go on an exchange to Ottawa (Canada) for 5 days. I was so excited to be getting away from all the people who had hurt me and be on my own. Little did I know this trip was going to change my life.
We stayed in the dorms at Carleton University and it was great. I really recommend this for anyone really trying to save a buck or two but still have a great vacation. When school is out most Universities rent out their dormitories on the cheap.
The exchange was all about getting people with disabilities to be as active as possible. When I heard about some of the activities I thought "there is no way I can do any of these things." Boy was I wrong
Day 1: Sledge Hockey with the Canadian special olympics team. It looks easy but its really hard. You have to keep yourself centered or else you'll tip over. Needless to say I tipped over many times haha. You have to use mini hockey sticks with blades on the bottom to get yourself around so basically you are pulling your whole body weight around while trying to get the puck without tipping over. No goals were made and I did not get asked to join the team but I laughed alot:)

I don't if curling is big in the states but it is in canada. To be honest I don't really know alot about the game but basically you have a big heavy thing that they call a stone and you have you use a broom to shuffle it to the target area. You can read more about it here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curling

Day 2: I never thought I'd rock climb. It was really stinkin' hard. I felt like I weighed 1000 pounds. I could tell that the man holding my harness was trying to help by pulling me up a bit. Once I got to the top I got really freaked about being so high and coming back down. All I was thinking was I'm never doing this again once I get down. The stubborn irish girl that I am had to go up one more time and do even better. I'm glad I did even though I thought I was going to pee myself haha


Day 3: A visit to parliament on Canada day. It was so cool to be in my country's capital on Canada Day (Our equivalent of July 4th) We got to watch the changing of the guards (those dudes in red suits) and then we went in for our tour of parliament where the government makes all their decision I thought it was pretty cool. When you go in you have to go through security and man on man did they put me through the ringer. I was using my wheelchair because their was alot of walking and gosh you'd think I was hiding a bomb in there. I guess I understand I am the bomb.com after all

House of Commons where all the great debates are had
The hallway of all our past Prime Ministers

We partied it up and a fancy dinner at the uber chic Westin Hotel

Day 4: Tubing. All I have to say about this is fun fun fun!!!!! I loved it and would do it everyday if I could. we were going so fast I almost fell out haha. That would have been a smooth move huh?

Learning to play the bongo or whatever the heck this is called. We had to a solo on the spot and this was my attempt at pretending I have a rhythm.

Day 5: Ping Pong with the Canadian Ping pong team. Ping pong looks easy doesn't it? .... well you would not believe how hard it is to hit that little ball. I am good at shopping if only that was one of the activities. I would totally win!

Coach: "Are you a Winner or a Loser?" Me: "From the looks of things I think I am a Loser."
The final party: We had a big party on our last night there. There was lots of dancing and lots of fun. For the first time I met a boy who made my heart skip a beat and really made me feel special. Its so funny how we meet someone when we are least expecting it. Things didn't work out (jerk alert) but I am still glad I met him.

I think sometimes its so much fun to go on a vacation by yourself where no one knows you. It gives you a chance to spend time with yourself and really get to know who you are what you want. When I arrived I was a girl who thought life was always going to be terrible and no one was ever going to like me. I learned on this trip that there are ups and downs in life but things can change in an instance so we have to appreciate every experience we have good or bad and know that it is going to bring us to a better place. I was so afraid to start at me new school. I thought it was going to be the same all over again but my trip let me believe that there was alot of good coming my way and it did. I made so many friends and my new school and it was wonderful. I don't think this would have happened had a not gone to Ottawa because it opened me. To all of you out there reading this if you've ever gone through or are going through a rough I am here to tell you you are not alone and things will get better. Take the time to get know yourself even if its just going to starbucks on your own and reading book. You have all the power to make your life better. you are a shining star!
Thank you for having me Tracy! You are an absolute doll


lots of love
Aly