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Our 3rd Year in a Row Visiting Great Wolf Lodge

2 Apr

I’ve talked about Great Wolf Lodge before, with our first visit here for Jack’s 4th birthday and then a follow up visit for Jack’s 5th birthday. We were going to skip it this year, because we had a kid birthday party for Jack, but then they were running a really good special and I decided to jump on it.

What can I say… the winter was long and I really like having something fun to look forward to!

We usually would visit from Friday to Saturday because the pricing is better, but by using a ‘Book Early and Save’ deal, we were able to get a Saturday to Sunday reservation for less than usual. We drove there on Saturday morning, checked in, took a few ‘howl’ photos, and went to the water park for a few hours of fun.

We got dinner late (and it was truly awful with terrible service) at a nearby Red, Hot and Blue and then went straight to bed. On Sunday morning we went to our favorite pancake house for breakfast. If you are in the area, we highly recommend the Astronomical Pancake House for breakfast. It’s all the goodness of a diner, but much more clean!

And LOOK at these amazing waffles that I ate:

😍 #allthefruit

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After stuffing ourselves full of coffee and food, we put our bathing suits back on. Because that’s what you want to do for some total body confidence…

Anywhoo, we spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon at the water park. Even after 3 years it was so much fun! Jack loves the Fort Mackenzie tree house area with water spewing around everywhere and interactive water toys to play with. We all loved the water slides, especially Water Canyon Run where the three of us hurtled down a dark tube while screaming at the top of our lungs. When we were done, we threw on some comfy clothes for the ride home and took one more quick photo on the way out…

All in all, it was a great weekend and really helped get rid of some of that winter funk we were feeling!

{If you’ve never been to a Great Wolf Lodge, you may be interested in the Q&A I did at the end of my previous post.}

Do you have someplace you return to again and again? For us it’s usually Ocean City, but now I’m adding Great Wolf Lodge to that list!

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Shopping Small in Philly

11 Dec

Much like my NYC trip the previous week, I had a quickie overnight trip to Philadelphia last week. Once my train got in to Philly, I had a few hours to kill before my evening event, so I did a bit of walking around. In quick succession, my friend and I visited the Redding Terminal Market, the Dilworth Park Winter Garden at City Hall and the Christmas Village at Love Park. I love handmade items, so these winter villages were exactly what I LOVE about visiting different cities!

I ended up buying a few items for Christmas gifts… and a couple treats for myself too. Let’s check them out!

{Much, like my NYC post I did include links when I could find them. These are NOT sponsored links. I just really love what I purchased so I thought I’d make it easy for you if you want to shop for yourself.}

Bopbe handmade earrings

I basically never change my earrings out, so when I saw these pretty handmade earrings I was planning to leave them behind. They kept calling my name though and I ended up buying them. Look at them… they are so beautiful! How could I resist? I found the Bopbe shop on Etsy but they are currently closed while they have their booth at the Dilworth Park Winter Garden. So many of their items were gorgeous though, so if you like the earrings be sure to check back in the new year! I think I’m going to give these to my husband to wrap up for Christmas…

La Vie en Rose bracelet

I know, I know… I obviously have an obsession with bracelets. I couldn’t resist trying this one on. Then – as you know – once you see how beautiful it is on your arm, you can’t leave without it! As for the inscription, “La Vie en Rose” is a jazz song from the 1940’s. The idea of having a rosy outlook on life, or seeing the world through rose glasses turns into looking at everything through the haze of being in love. For me, I see it as keeping a positive outlook on everything. Here is a link to the exact bracelet I bought with your choice of inscriptions. 

Felt and Wool Angels

How adorable are these little felt angels? I bought one for my tree and one for a gift. Felt n Wool exports handcrafted felt products from Nepal and they had everything from scarves to slippers to ornaments. I read this on their Facebook page and thought it was really cool: “Our products are made in both a worker and eco-friendly process. Felt is not woven; instead the wool fibers are placed in warm soapy water and rolled under pressure to entangle the fibers. No electricity is used and there is little waste. Most of the workers are women who get their kids off to school, sit together chatting with friends and making our products – earning wages about the same as office workers – and finishing work in time to greet the kids from school.You can find their page here.

JoeyFiveCents necklace

This one is a gift, so if you are a sister of mine… LOOK AWAY! This initial necklace was made using original vintage paper from a Palmer Handwriting practice guide book from the 1930’s and 1940’s. The vintage paper has been sealed and coated with resin and then accented with a tiny vintage pearl bead flourish. My sister is engaged, so I purchased the letter of what will be her new last name!

Crisp & Co Pickles

You know if they have samples of food, I’m going to try some…right? Crisp & Co had a super yummy assortment of award-winning artisan pickles to sample and my favorites were the Sweet Ginger Pickles and the Savory Pickled Mushrooms. I bought one of each for my dad, and then one of the Ginger Pickles for my husband. Here’s their website.

I would have loved to do a little Philly thrifting while I was there, but I ran out of time! I’m just glad that I finally got a start on my Christmas list!

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New York City Shopping Fun

4 Dec

Last week I had a quick work trip to New York City. I rode the train there on Wednesday, had a work event that evening, another work commitment in the morning, and then hopped back on the train Thursday afternoon to come home. Of course, if I’m going to go to NYC, I might as well do a little shopping in my down time… obviously!

I spent some time at the Bryant Park Winter Village, which was right across the street from our hotel. I also did a little bit of thrifting while I was there.

What to see what I bought?

Oh and when I could find them, I included links in this post. Please note, NONE of these links are sponsored… so don’t feel like I’m trying to get you to buy things. I just really love what I purchased and thought I’d include links in case you see something for yourself or something you want to buy as a holiday gift!

First up, I’m totally obsessed with this handmade leather and metal bracelet:

I found it at one of the shops in the Winter Village and it cost $30. I tried to find them online and was totally unsuccessful. I Love, Love, LOVE this bracelet though. It looks great on its own and will also stack well with my other favorite bracelets too. This will basically be on my wrist from now until the end of time.

The Strand bookstore had a booth at the Winter Village and I could have spent all day in there. As it was, I kind of cleaned the place out with some purchases.

May the Books You Read Light the Way Tote Bag
Find it here


I swear the Strand must have a relationship with Rifle Paper Co, because they have a few things that look co-designed with Rifle (but most aren’t marked as such). I loved this bag so much when I saw it and then even more once I bought it and realized it has a little inside zip pocket and a zipper at the top. I use cute canvas bags like this on a regular basis for hauling stuff to work, packing for short trips, or even just going shopping (so I don’t need a disposable bag). This bag was $20 and I will be using it a ton.

When in Doubt, Go to the Library Shirt
Find it here

This shirt is super soft and not only includes my love of libraries, but the Harry Potter series… so I had to buy it. I did size up to an XL because it looks like it’s a juniors cut. I’m glad I did too, because I tried it on when I got back to my room and it was still a bit fitted. They also have a men’s version.

Sassy Buttons
Nasty Women Read: find it here
Well Read Women: find it here
Hermione 2020: find it here

YES, YES and YES. These went directly on my new tote bag.

I originally was thinking I’d purchase some gorgeous handmade natural Olive wood cutting boards for my siblings for Christmas gifts… but they didn’t seem that into the idea. So, I bought myself stuff instead. You can find the company here: and I basically wanted to buy one of everything for my house. I calmed myself down though and only ended up with four items:

Each piece is made from olive trees in Tunisia that no longer produce olives. Every item has its own distinctive wood grain and I took my time picking out a set that looked perfect to my eyes. I chose a flat spatula and two cooking spoons (they had a ‘buy 3 for $10 each’ special), as well as a spoon rest.

Here’s the cooking spoon: find it here
Here’s the flat spatula: find it here

I love the idea of buying a cutting board and pairing it with some fancy cheeses for a holiday gift (this one is super cute). Or even buying an assortment of spoons like I did. You can find all of their products here.

I mentioned that I did a little thrifting and I was able to hit up two shops. My first stop was The Thrifty HoG (11 W 25th Street). They are more like a consignment shop than a thrift store, which is nice because they have lots of super high-end brands. However, they also have higher prices. Even though I walked around a bit, nothing really caught my eye.

My second stop was at a nearby Goodwill (103 W 25th Street). HOLY MOLY did I see some amazing brands! There was a fantastic Tory Burch dress (which I later found out was my sister’s size… kicking myself for not buying it). I also found THREE pairs of Tory Burch shoes (all not my size or in icky condition), a pair of Diane Von Furstenburg heels, a Vince leather jacket, and tons of Anthropologie brands. If I were a size XS I would have totally cleaned up!

As it is, I only ended up coming home with one purchase:

These metallic leather gladiator sandals are just my size and exactly my style. I snapped them up for $10.

If I had more time, I would have liked to stop at another few thrift stores. But I’ll just have to cross my fingers that when I go to Philadelphia for a similar trip next week I find some fun thrift stores to browse!

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Movie Talk: Vacation-Inspiring Movies & a Giveaway!

23 Aug

School is starting soon in Maryland, which means that summer is suddenly coming to an end. Obviously I want to squeak in one (or two) more mini vacations before ‘real life’ starts up again. I mean, I work year-round – so real life never ends – but once the kids are back in school it just feels less FUN. Am I right? Which brings me to today’s post… movies that inspire your traveling!

One of my girlfriends (hi Jenni!) totally planned her honeymoon for Greece because of Mamma Mia. Those amazing shots of Skopelos, Skiathos and Kerkyra would make anyone want to pack up their suitcase and visit, especially for a romantic honeymoon. And now I kind of want to go too…

Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

As for me, I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii. We are hoping we can make it happen for our 10th wedding anniversary, which is coming up in a little more than a year. While I can’t remember the exact reason I started with my Hawaii obsession, Blue Crush may have pushed me over the edge with the amazing shots of Oahu.

Source: Universal Pictures


Now it’s your turn: have you ever traveled somewhere because you saw it on a movie or television show? Leave me a comment and tell me all about it! To add a little extra end-of-summer fun, one random commenter will win a prize pack containing John Grisham’s new book, Camino Island and a few other beachy goodies.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

I can’t wait to read all your comments and make my next movie viewing/traveling list!


Disclaimer: I am a member of Netflix’s Director’s program, which gives me free access to movies. If you sign up with my referral link, I may receive a referral reward. My friends at provided me with the fabulous prize pack for the giveaway.The winner will be chosen randomly.

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