Corna-Cation

As I mentioned yesterday, I have been MIA from the blog for a bit because I had two mini corona-cations back to back. It was sort of a last minute decision not to blog during that time because I wanted to be fully present for both trips.  I am calling them corona-cations because they were very different from our usual trips due to the many precautions that we had to take to keep everyone as safe as possible.  Masks, hand-sanitizer, and social distancing became normal part of both trips.  We did not go to any restaurants or any other adventures because we didn’t feel like that was safe. Despite the extra precautions, both trips for me were still a great success and a wonderful time was had by all. 

First, I spent 4 glorious days in the Outer Banks with 8 of my very best friends.  We have been doing this annual beach trip for, I think, nine years now.  This year’s trip got postponed due to the shutdown for COVID-19, but I am happy to report that it finally happened. We tried to all social distance as much as we could with 9 people in one house sharing beds, but I wasn’t too concerned since I knew everyone had been pretty isolated prior to the trip.  We didn’t share our usual hugs with everyone, and we tried not to drink or eat after each other.   We also did not go anywhere except to the beach and back.  A few of us got up early each morning and made our way to the beach so that we could secure a large socially distanced area for all of us to hang all day.  There were surprisingly more people on the beach than we are typically used to so getting a spot early was key.  We put up our cabana and spread our bags and chairs wide so that new beachgoers knew to stay away from us.  Most people were respectful of each other and everyone was trying hard to maintain distance as much as possible.  We pretty much spent our entire days at the beach since we couldn’t really go anywhere else.  We packed our own lunches and plenty of drinks and snacks to last us through the whole day.  I don’t think that we have ever spent that much time just talking and hanging out on the beach before.  We usually only spend a few hours a day at the beach mixed in with shopping and dining out the rest of the time.  Since we couldn’t do that this year, we just stayed at the beach all day.  We had really good weather, calm waters, and overall great conversations. It was glorious.  Each evening, we headed back to the house in shifts to start showers, and then we took turns cooking dinner each night because we weren’t comfortable with going to a restaurant. After dinner each night, we played crazy games that resulted in so many laughs that there were tears rolling down our faces.  While this trip wasn’t like any of our others, it was exactly what we all needed.  All we really cared about was spending time together and having fun which we did beyond measure.  

After that trip, I can home for two days before the whole family packed up and made the long drive to South Carolina to visit our family, who we haven’t seen since Christmas.  It was very alarming to us to see the difference in safety measures the closer we got to South Carolina as we made stops along the way on the 10-hour trip.  During our initial bathroom stops, everyone we passed was wearing a mask and walking far away from each other. Then, the closer we got to our destination, we encountered tons of people without masks who didn’t seem to make any effort to not walk close to you.  It was a bit scary to us to see that because it is such a sharp contrast from what we have been living the past few months at home.  It was quite interesting to see how the different states are handling things and showed why there is now a spike in COVID cases in many of those states that have been more lenient with their restrictions.  I feel like I was personally more nervous on this trip than I was on my beach trip.  I am not sure if that was because the restrictions were way less down there and, therefore, more concerning to me or if it was because I was around my parents, father-in-law, and my grandparents who are all at a greater risk than we are due to age and pre-existing conditions. I would feel so horrible knowing that we exposed one of them to this horrible virus if one of them were to get sick.  I guess it is probably a combination of both that made me more nervous, but it definitely made me extra cautious.  Before we even left for the trip, I questioned if it were the right thing to do to go down there, but we felt like we should make the trip to see our family when we have the opportunity since it doesn’t happen very often.  I am glad that we went because spending time with family is so important.  My kids got to spend time with their cousins at the lake tubing and having a blast, and we all got to spend time with our loved ones celebrating Independence Day. There were no big fireworks displays this year and no huge BBQs, but we enjoyed a small family gathering for lunch instead. 

While both trips were changed by the new norm, both of them turned out to be more than we expected. We all got just what we needed out of them. I strongly believe that nothing is more important that spending time with the people we love.  Maybe things will never get back to the old norm, but we will continue to adapt and make the most out of what we are given.  I am aware that some of you may think that we shouldn’t be going anywhere at all, and maybe you are right. However, I think that we did the best we could to protect ourselves and those that we came into contact with. I also believe that we have to continue with our lives as much as possible and make the most of the cards we have been dealt in these crazy times. I think as long as you are careful and are smart about what you are doing, there is nothing wrong with taking a mini corona-cation. I am happy with both of mine and am counting down the days for the next ones whenever they may be and whatever they may look like. 

Anchored,

A Look In My Closet: OOTD

I have been MIA for the past several days because I was on vacation.  I spent 4 days with my besties in the Outer Banks, 2 days at home, and then 4 days in South Carolina visiting family.  I thought I would share some of the outfits I packed along with me for a little outfit inspiration for you guys in case you are headed on a corona-cation. Obviously, we couldn’t do a whole lot because of social distancing, so these outfits are all pretty casual. I wore each of them with either my Converse Shoreline Sneakers or a pair of flip flops. I also pretty much packed the same outfits for both trips. Sadly, I did not take a single picture while wearing any of these outfits, but you can get the idea from these flat lays.  All of the jewelry featured is from Trades of Hope. Any purchase of this jewelry helps to empower women around the world out of extreme poverty and human trafficking. 

Shirt/Shorts/Half-Moon Earrings/Holly Necklace

Tank/Shorts/La Luz Necklace/Moxie Hoops/Bangkok Bracelet/Jasmine Bracelet

Top (Lularoe)-Similar/Shorts/Revival Earrings/Loyalty Necklace

Tank/Shorts/Chelsea Necklace (Out of Stock)/Pink Palace Earrings

Tank (Lularoe)-Similar/Shorts/Half-Moon Earrings/Amber Bracelet Trio

High Waist Bikini (Out of Stock)-Similar

High Waist Bikini

Happy shopping!

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*This post contains commissioned links. Should you choose to purchase items using these links, I may earn a small commission.

Paradise Island

Right before Christmas, my family and I made a trip to the Bahamas to Paradise Island.  It wasn’t the most ideal time to go, but my daughter had a gymnastics meet there so off we went.  I will tell you that it was quite stressful leading up to the trip just because things were hectic with the impending holidays.  By the time the day to leave got here, I was just so ready to get it over with.  We got up super early on Tuesday morning (the week before Christmas) and drove the long drive to South Carolina where we are from.  We were flying to and from there so that we could spend Christmas with our families after our trip.  We took two cars, one kid each, to accommodate luggage for 4 people for 2 weeks for two totally different climates and all of our Christmas gifts.  We were loaded down! That drive is so long and miserable! Anyway, we got there sometime that evening, dropped our dog off with my father-in-law who was keeping her while we were away, and then we grabbed a bite to eat and went to my parents’ house to sleep.  We had to get up super early again the next morning to get to the airport for our flight.  By the time we got on the plane, we were all totally exhausted.  

We arrived in the Bahamas around 11:00, but it was closer to 1:00 before we got to the resort.  Traffic was really bad on the way there, and there were people all over the streets as there were 7 cruise ships in port.  Our bus driver ended up taking us on a detour to try to avoid some of the traffic and congestion. We ended up in some really sketchy areas down these roads that were the size of one lane and one way traffic but were actually meant as 2 lane roads with 2 way traffic. Talk about some scary situations driving head on towards a car with nowhere to go!  We learned that traffic signals and signs there are just a suggestion as we almost witnessed several accidents right in front of us. I was getting totally car sick with all of the stop and go and the fact that our driver took curves and turns at 90 mph.  We also had not eaten, which didn’t help the situation. Needless to say our adventure began right away.  On a positive note, our driver did give us a lot of information about the island and its history as we passed through different areas.  We were so relieved to finally make it to the resort only to learn that our room wasn’t ready. The resort was totally jam packed the whole time we were there. Just the number of gymnasts there would make it crowded enough, but there were also 2 college football teams there for the Bahama Bowl. There were football players, band members, cheerleaders, and fans everywhere. There was even a pep rally one night in the lobby with the school mascots. It was crazy. Anyway, once we realized we couldn’t get into our room, we decided to grab some clothes out of our luggage so we could change out of the warm clothes we were wearing because we were now dying in the heat and humidity.  We checked in our luggage with the front desk and headed outside to try to find some food.  

Again, I was feeling sick, everyone was hot, we were all exhausted, and we were starving.  To say we were all grumpy is an understatement. We finally found a place to eat that had something that my youngest could eat and got in the long line to order our food.  I swear it took like an hour to get through the line just to order.  I honestly thought I was going to pass out! Once we finally got some food in us, we started to feel so much better and our room was finally ready.  We got changed into bathing suits and decided it was time to have some fun.  We walked around outside exploring and eventually made it to the beach.  I have to say that the view was gorgeous, and I finally started to feel like we on vacation. Of course the girls jumped right in even though the water was freezing.  My husband and I made a spot in the sand and just enjoyed the view and laughing at the girls in the water.  That was our one and only day the whole trip that we got to enjoy the warm sun.  The rest of the days were overcast, rainy, incredibly windy, and cold.  That really stunk, but we did our best to make the most of it, including freezing our tails off in the water park and pools the rest of the time.  We also spent a lot of time inside and in our room thanks to the rain, but I think we all really needed that.  We needed the time to just rest.  I think I got more sleep in those few days than I have all year.  It was so nice.  Over all, though, despite the fiasco of the first day and the crummy weather, we had a great time.  We had some great gymnastics, enjoyed some cultural experiences, ate a lot of ice cream, got tons of rest, and enjoyed time together as a family.  I would say it was a great trip.  

I do have to admit, though, that although we had a great time, I am not sure that we will ever plan to go back. My husband and I just aren’t beachy/island people. We really don’t enjoy the ocean or island life as much as most do. Meals were also a challenge for our family while we were there. None of us eat any kind of seafood, we are all a little picky, and with my youngest daughter’s eating issues, it was difficult to find food each day. Maybe if the weather had been better and it hadn’t been Christmas, I might feel a little better about going back, but I doubt it. It is just not for us. Don’t get me wrong. We had a great time and really enjoyed the views and our time together. It is just not our premier vacation destination. Of course, my girls would go back in a heartbeat because they love that kind of stuff. Who knows? Maybe we will change our minds and head back there one day. All I know for sure is that it was a great little unexpected vacation, and I am happy that we got to experience it.

Anchored, 

I Need a Vacation!

Earrings-Trades of Hope, Dress-Lularoe

The month of June was so crazy that I feel like we really haven’t had our summer break yet.  Most people that I know have these grand vacations planned for at least a week (sometimes 2) this summer.  For us, it has been a trip to Disney for the past few years because we love it so much.  We, however, do not have a real vacation planned for this summer. We had originally planned to go to Europe this summer. Because we ended up buying a new house and spent money doing renovations, we decided to put it on hold. It is definitely on the agenda for next summer, though.  We are also having difficulty getting a day scheduled where all 4 of us can go and get passports for the girls. Since both parents have to be present, we can’t find a time when my husband can get off work, the girls don’t have practice, and there is an available appointment.  We have to figure out the passport thing before December, though, because my daughter has a  gymnastics meet in the Bahamas.  Who knew it would be so difficult to find a place and schedule an appointment that also works with our crazy schedules??? It should not be this difficult! 

Anyway, we decided to just do a few small little weekend trips this summer instead of one big vacation trip. Our first excursion we planned was a trip to Gettysburg and Hersey Park in Pennsylvania.  My youngest has been dying to go Hershey Park after hearing friends talk about it, and my husband is all about battlefields and history.   Unfortunately, that trip got canceled due to the passing of my grandmother.  I don’t know if we will have the time to reschedule it this summer or not.  Our next excursion is a weekend in Williamsburg, Virginia for Bush Gardens, Water Country USA, and the historic colonial tours.  Even though we have done all of that a few times before, it is something that the girls enjoy, and it is a place that we can easily get to for a long weekend.  The other little trip we want to make this summer is a trip to New York City.  Our oldest went on a trip with us there when she was really little but doesn’t remember it.  Then just both girls and I went again a couple of winters ago for a gymnastics meet and had a blast.  They loved it so much.  We did not get to go to the Statue of Liberty or 9/11 Memorial on that trip, and my youngest made me promise that I would take her back to see them.  This trip hasn’t been scheduled yet so it may or may not happen this summer, but I will fulfill my promise sometime soon.  We will just have to see if we can fit it in sometime in the coming weeks.  Other than a trip for me to Orlando in a couple of weeks for our annual Trades of Hope conference, we have no other big summer plans.  

I have to say that I am very jealous of all of my friends posting pictures of all these amazing places they are visiting, but it is what it is, I guess.  I do think family vacations are very important.  I also realize that not everyone can take an extravagant trip, which is totally ok.  Even if you just have a stay-cation and explore your town, I think that it is important to take that time to step away from the stresses of everyday life and spend quality time together as a family.  It is a time when you unplug and just enjoy each other’s company.  Making those memories together is priceless.  Whether you choose to go to Disney World, go on a cruise, head to the beach, take mini trips like us, or stay home, quality family time is so important.  You could always pitch a tent in your backyard and go “camping.”   You could make s’mores and tell tons of stories.  You could have a pajama-cation.  Take a weekend and stay in your pajamas all day watching movies, playing board games, and eating junk food. The point is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a vacation.  That is not what is important.  Where you go really isn’t important either. Time together is what is the key to a great vacation.  Making the commitment to unplug from the rest of the world and just be together enjoying each other’s company is something that you and your kids will remember for years to come.  Even if it is just for two days, that time together is special.  We all need a break every now and then.  If you don’t stop and take one, you will burn out.  Your health will decline and you will be miserable and make everyone miserable around you.  Trust me, it has happened to me.  Commit to taking time for your family. If you don’t have anything planned, please consider rethinking that and make a plan.  You won’t regret it! 

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*This post contains commissioned links. Should you choose to purchase items through these links, I may earn a small commission.

Vacation Does NOT Equal Relaxation

My kids are on spring break this week.  They are not very thrilled with us because it turned into the week that we moved so we haven’t really done anything exciting according to them.  We have only been packing and unpacking the whole week.  We honestly did not intentionally plan the move during spring break.  It just sort of happened.  Many of their friends around here went away for the week, and the girls are getting jealous seeing everyone’s posts from all these cool places.  I don’t really know why they expected us to go somewhere.  We have never traveled anywhere for spring break except to our hometown in South Carolina for Easter.  I guess it has never really occurred to us to go anywhere this week before.  When I was a teacher, I longed to make it to spring break because it was a much needed break after the long winter months.  I used this week as a time to rest and recoup.  I know a lot of people think that going somewhere cool is a time to relax and chill, but vacations have never been a time of relaxation for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love to travel and go to cool places, but it just isn’t relaxing for me.  The planning that leads up to a trip, all of the packing, the scheduling of things to do while we are away, and trying to cram everything we can into that short trip are all things that are often stressful for me. I guess part of it is because I don’t do down time well.  I feel like there is something that I should be doing all the time.  I rarely take the time to just enjoy the moment.  It is always about the next thing we are going to do when we are on vacation.  I am a planner by nature, so our family vacations are often fully planned out ahead of time. I like schedules.  My husband is the same way.  We both have a hard time relaxing and he likes schedules and plans too. You can imagine that two uptight schedulers are probably not going to be able to just chill.  It’s just not in us.  I can assure you that I wish that I was able to relax.  I wish I was able to take it all in and stop and smell the roses. I just can’t.  It is something that I am working on for sure, but I’m just not there.  

Speaking of vacations, we are heading to Disney World in a couple of weeks for a cheer competition. Disney is one of our all time favorite places to go as a family.  I have always loved Disney.  One of my very favorite vacation memories was when my husband and I went to Disney back when we were newly married.  We had so much fun.  I’m not sure I can count how many times we have been to Disney over the years.  No matter how many times we have gone, every time is better than the last.  We just love it so much.  While we won’t get to do a whole lot of park hopping while we are there this time because this trip is all about cheer, I am still very much looking forward to going back. Just being there is magical.  Even though we have pretty much done it all at Disney, I still don’t relax when we are there. There is just so much to do and see. It is always go, go, go!

We are currently still debating on what we want to do for our real vacation this summer. Originally we had planned to go to Europe, but with the move and all that we have going on, we decided to postpone that trip for a year.  Now we are debating about whether to do a cruise, go back to Disney, or do something totally different.  The girls and I have never been on a cruise before. I know! How is that possible? I think maybe it is because I am a little scared to go on a cruise.  Both my youngest and I get motion sickness, and I am so afraid of being nauseous for days and being totally miserable with no way to escape. We were initially leaning towards a cruise. The debate with that was whether or not to do a Disney cruise or a regular cruise. However, I think that maybe we aren’t going to do a cruise now.  We actually haven’t even had the chance to get the girls their passports, and we haven’t booked anything.  Who knows what we will end up doing? It is all up in the air at this point. Disney is familiar and easy since we’ve done it a million times, but I think it would be nice to do something new.  I have no idea what that is.  Whatever it may be, I am sure we will a great time.  It won’t be relaxing, but it will be fun!

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