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January Fun: A trip to Kingsmill in Williamsburg, VA

23 Jan

I mentioned in my 2020 goals post that I’m planning one weekend of fun for each month. Well, January was easy because my sister’s, brother and I planned a weekend trip for our mom to celebrate her birthday! While I’ve been to Williamsburg, VA many times, I had not yet visited the Kingsmill Resort. My mom had said she loved it though, so we figured out a weekend and everyone booked their rooms.

We ended up traveling to the resort last weekend – driving there on Saturday and then driving back home on Sunday. As part of my mom’s birthday gift, in addition to her water-view room, we scheduled her a massage, pedicure and also had a delicious dinner out as a family.

Since we were there, I also booked a massage for Travis and a massage for me to enjoy. And OHMYGOSH did we enjoy them! Holy moly. My masseuse, Leah, was absolutely amazing and did a combination of a regular Swedish massage, hot stone massage, and even did a bit of cupping. I’d never experienced cupping before, but it basically felt like she put some sort of suction thing on my back and then dragged it down a bit before un-suctioning it. It didn’t hurt, but it felt a little tingly. It’s been a few days and there aren’t any bruises or anything (which is literally all I knew about cupping, that it gives you big circle bruises).

For dinner, the whole family went out to a restaurant called Food for Thought (you can find it here). About half of our people got the ribs special and they were so, so, so delicious (Travis gave me one of his, because he’s awesome). I ordered bacon wrapped scallops, which were also super good. Jack stuck with the chicken fingers and French fries… I let the waiter know that it was my mom’s birthday weekend, so they were nice enough to bring her out a dessert with a candle in it. There was no obnoxious song, so we stuck with ‘Happy Birthday’.

This would have been a great time to insert a photo of the entire family at dinner, but I literally didn’t get my phone out at all until the next day.

After dinner, we all met up in my sibling’s rooms because they got a shared suite with a common room. It worked out great because we could light a fire for warmth/ambiance and we also played a rousing game of charades. My family gets super competitive – so we played original Harmans (me and my siblings) vs significant others (all our spouses). It was pretty hilarious and I’m still pretty darn proud that I got Mona Lisa from whatever the hell my brother was doing.

I finally did take a photo when we were about to leave, here is me and Jack on our hotel balcony:

Every time we go to Williamsburg, one of my favorite places is the Astronomical Pancake House. So, even though the rest of the family decided to get up early and go to breakfast at 9, I knew Jack was going to want to sleep in (he was up past 10pm with our shenanigans). Sure enough, he rolled out of bed at 9:30 with plenty of time for us to pack up our room, check out and drive on over for pancakes. Actually, I should say waffles… because THIS:

I get the same meal every time we go because it is THAT delicious!

The first fun weekend of the year was a success! I loved hanging out with the family, the resort and massages were amazing, and my mom had a great birthday weekend. Now I can’t wait until our February fun…

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Loving Fixer Upper… Is a Trip to Waco Worth It?

10 Sep

I love HGTV. There is nothing more relaxing to me to turning on HGTV and just getting sucked into all the wonderful home décor tv shows. Of course, we don’t actually have cable anymore… so my HGTV addiction is pretty much limited to when we are staying in a hotel or on vacation (I’m already counting down the days to an upcoming work conference…).

One of my favorite shows on HGTV is obviously Fixer Upper. I love Joanna and Chip Gaines. They are so likeable and funny and just plain talented when it comes to totally making over a house. I’ve read The Magnolia Story, and also own both Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering and Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave.

When I take the occasional super rare trip to Target, I find myself walking through the Magnolia area and fondling random dishes and home décor.

As any fan of Fixer Upper knows, they are based on Waco, Texas. After the massive success of their television show, they actually opened the Magnolia Market at the Silos. In addition to the market, there is now Magnolia Seed + Supply, Silos Baking Co., food trucks at the Silos, etc. They’ve become quite the tourist draw.

Which brings me to my question… is it worth it to take a weekend girls trip to Waco?

Between the silos and other little shops around the area, is there enough to keep you busy and entertained? Have any of you gone to their Magnolia restaurant and tried Joanna’s biscuits? Were they to die for?

If you’ve taken a trip to Waco, I’d love to hear all about it. OR, if you’re wanting to take a trip, tell me your thoughts!

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. This means that clicking on a link may help me earn a small commission at no cost to you.

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Family Travel: Fun in Philadelphia… Legoland & The Franklin Institute

21 Aug

Sometimes it’s nice to get away… even if “away” is just a few hours from your own house. Jack has been begging to go back to Legoland again this year, so we decided that instead of just driving to Plymouth Meeting, PA and back in the same day, we’d spend a night in the Big City. The Big City is what Jack calls any city — Philly, Baltimore, NYC — they are all BIG to him.

This was actually our third year in a row of visiting the Legoland Discovery Center, but somehow, I’ve never blogged about it. If you have a kid obsessed with Legos, this place will blow their mind. There are a bunch of different Lego build and play zones, a full Lego recreation of Philadelphia landmarks and also a 4D cinema that shows Lego short films. Oh yeah, and the gift shop full of amazing Lego sets and a spot where you can build-your-own mini figures!

Here are some of our photos from the Legoland portion of our weekend:

When it came to choosing a hotel, I didn’t really care where we stayed as long as it was right in the middle of everything. We ended up at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown because they were priced pretty much the same as everyone else, but they had a Visit Philly Overnight hotel package that was PERFECT for us. The package included: free overnight parking, two tickets to the Franklin Institute Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes exhibit, a $25 gift card to some nearby restaurants, and some other stuff.

Considering that no other hotels nearby included parking and it costs around $50 to park overnight AND the two Franklin Institute tickets totaled at $70… it was quite the deal.

Of course, if you do end up booking that package it pays to KNOW what you should receive because I had to remind them multiple times that we didn’t have to pay for our parking and that they owed us the packet of tickets. Just saying.

Anywho. We checked in, went to dinner, slept in the next morning and checked out at 11am. The room was fine – comfortable and clean. The hotel was perfectly located, with the Reading Terminal Market right next store and a Starbucks in the lobby. My only complaint was that we had super loud neighbors who yelled, hooted and hollered until about midnight. They drove me crazy, but Jack and Travis slept through the whole thing.

Since we had parking until 4pm, we loaded up our overnight stuff in backpacks – one for each of us – and hit the road for some exploring. We walked around the Reading Terminal Market for a bit and then took an Uber to the Franklin Institute. Since we got two tickets in our packet, we just needed to buy one additional child’s ticket for $31. The tickets gave us access to Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes, as well as the rest of the science museum. The Marvel exhibit featured more than 300 artifacts, including comic books, costumes and props. I thought it was super cool, but Jack enjoyed the regular science center exhibits more.

We wandered through the exhibits for hours until my stomach started rumbling… then we hit up Urban Farmers Philadelphia for lunch. The food was delicious, but I was even more impressed with the décor. The place was absolutely gorgeous and I totally wanted to grab a book and snuggle into one of their corner booths for a few hours of uninterrupted reading!

Oh, one last photo of our weekend. There was a fun “I Love Philly” thing in Love Park where people were taking turns posing for photos. Well, when it was our turn this happened…

Yup. Exactly the photo I was hoping for!

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Subscription Box Review: Summer 2019 She Lives Aloha Box

22 Jul

As you all know, my husband and I had the most wonderful time on our Hawaiian vacation back in May. In fact, it took two whole blog posts to share all of our Hawaii fun and adventures (if you’d like to revisit them, click through for part one and part two).

We absolutely loved Kauai and we hope to return to the islands as soon as we can. So, imagine my joy when I found out that my friend Vanessa was launching a She Lives Aloha subscription box! She sent me over the inaugural box and asked for my honest feedback. In return, I asked for her permission to blog about it! I know many of you followed along with my Hawaii trip and shared your own tips and tricks from your visits (or wishes to visit soon!), so I thought you’d enjoy taking a look inside the very first She Lives Aloha box.  

What is She Lives Aloha?

The goal of She Lives Aloha is for you to feel like you are back in Hawaii without leaving home.

When you are part of the She Lives Aloha ohana, we are committed to helping you incorporate aloha for a minute or thirty into your daily life. You will take a moment to remember the sand beneath your toes, the sun melting your reality away, and just for a moment, you’ll breathe and remember that aloha feeling.

The Lives Aloha box is a curation of some of the best products found on the Hawaiian Islands. Each box contains five items that have been crafted with aloha. All items for the box are either made in Hawaii, designed in Hawaii, or crafted by someone who has lived in Hawaii. Additionally, each box will support a Hawaiian charitable organization with a donation. The inaugural Lives Aloha box is a limited run and will ship July 22, 2019. The special introductory price is $49.95 plus tax. Free shipping to anywhere in the United States.

Let’s take a look inside the Summer 2019 box:

Each box contains an insert that tells you a little about each of the surprises inside. You can learn even more about each maker by visiting the She Lives Aloha website.

I love that they included a personalized post card in the box!

Kauhane by Elias Maulili Kauhane Jr.

First up, a download of Kauhane by Elias Maulili Kauhane Jr. You can check out some sneak peaks of his music here. This album is a great way to relive the aloha of your Hawaiian vacation!

Big Island Delights Furikake Party Mix Delight (find it here)

I went to taste the party mix and I accidentally ate the whole bag. Oh my gosh, it was delicious! Luckily the She Lives Aloha team included the company’s information in the box and I can order a 14 oz jar whenever I want. That way I could share the yummies with Travis and Jack… or keep it in my special hiding spot and NOT share!

Ola Tropical Apothecary’s Passion Fruit Body Lotion (find it here)

Ola Tropical Apothecary is a family owned and operated Hawaiian brand. Robin and her husband Chris Rooke make every one of their products by hand. By supporting Ola, you support a number of small farmers and businesses and a company that is responsible, sustainable and transparent. The Ola Passion Fruit body lotion included in the box smells like the most delicious frozen drink you could hope for!

Island Woods Pineapple Bowl (find it here)

Island Woods is a Hawaii-based company located on the island of Oahu. Island Woods offers hand crafted Acacia wood products inspired by Hawaiian designs. Their products are food-safe and made to last. I love this pretty little pineapple bowl! It can be used for snacks, dip, or even non-food items such as paperclips or jewelry. The carving is exquisite and this will certainly be used in our home. Also, I love that if you look closely at the inside of the pineapple you can see a heart!

Aloha Keychain

This fun little aloha key chain was handcrafted by Lori Shen just for this limited edition She Lives Aloha box. Lori was born and raised on the island of Oahu. Once her little one was born, Lori started a business of her own: Letter On!, a design and lifestyle brand that’s all about living aloha. You can find her on etsy here. This key chain is the perfect reminder to Live Aloha every day.

Thank you to my friend Vanessa for sending me the Summer She Lives Aloha box. It was a wonderful way to re-live our beautiful Hawaiian vacation. If you’d like to order the inaugural box, you can find it here!

I agree with the ladies at She Lives Aloha… “Every day should be Aloha Friday.”

Disclaimer: I was provided the She Lives Aloha for free in exchange for my honest feedback. I was not required to blog about the box, but decided to share it with you all because I thought you would like to take a look!

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