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Travel

Travel

Tacey Fedora, Juliette Sweater, Aventura Clothing, #AventuraLife, Fashion, Travel, Sponsored, Aventura, Eco-friendly clothing, green fashion

I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t had the chance to share some very important news. No, exhale, I am NOT pregnant. We’re not having that announcement ever again. My uterus has gone on holiday. I will just live vicariously through all my friends and family who keep having their own sweet, baby smell bundles that keep making my ovaries twitch. My announcement is that I am a brand, spanking new addition to the Aventura Clothing ambassador family and I am thrilled.

Aventura Clothing is an awesome family owned brand that’s been around since 1965 with a focus on environmental sustainability and high quality fashion for the modern woman on the move.  Aventura Clothing is a socially conscious and each piece is carefully crafted to be comfortable with a focus on an active lifestyle using materials like organic cotton, bamboo blends and recycled polyester. The eco-friendly styles prevent synthetic fertilizers and farm chemicals from polluting the soil. Aventura Clothing is the perfect marriage between comfort and style plus you can feel good about wearing it because no earth was harmed in the making of your fashion.

I received my first order right before we went on spring break and you better believe I took all of it to Disney World with me. Everything I ordered was lightweight and in bright, summery colors so it was perfect for the Florida heat and professional enough to wear to a conference. Bonus, it all traveled easily and most without wrinkling. Aventura is a traveler’s perfect choice in fashion.

I chose three different outfits with a few simple, classic pieces that could be easily swapped in and out to create several different outfits. I will highlight them individually as the summer goes on but today, I would like to highlight three of my favorite pieces.

The Tacey Fedora

The paper straw fedora has a unique geometric pattern and stylish black hat band. It fits like a glove and looks adorable with just about anything you wear it with. Bonus: It hides my bad hair days easily and no one’s the wiser. This may be my new favorite piece for all seasons.

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Tacey Fedora, Juliette Sweater, Aventura Clothing, #AventuraLife, Fashion, Travel, Sponsored, Aventura, Eco-friendly clothing, green fashion, Latina

Taken on a beautiful day, May 31, 2014.

The Juliette Sweater in Silver Sconce

The Juliette is the perfect lightweight sweater for spring, summer or fall. With a name like Juliette, how can your mind not conjure up images of feminine perfection.It’s comfortable and stylish looking with just the right amount of sass. I love the feminine cut and drape. It hugs my Latina girl curves but hangs in a way that doesn’t look like it’s too small. I’m embarrassed to admit it but since it’s arrival, it’s been worn more times than it probably should have been. I just love it.

The Mayfield Dress

It’s perfect for every occasion that calls for classic elegance from an afternoon networking at a conference to an evening spent enjoying drinks over casual conversation with your favorite guy, this dress is ready for all your summertime soirees. The rayon from bamboo and modal blend drapes beautifully and is as soft as silk without all the fuss. The Mayfield dress traveled for 18 hours in my suitcase on the road trip from ndiana to Florida and didn’t wrinkle, at all. I just pulled it out of my suitcase, hung it up, paired with a pair of cute sandals, the Redford jacket in white and the Presley scarf in sea blue and out the door I went; business cards in hand, dressed to impress.

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Mayfield Dress, Presley Scarf, Redford Jacket, Aventura Clothing, #AventuraLife, Fashion, Travel, Sponsored, Aventura, Eco-friendly clothing, green fashion

Taken March 28th, REALLY, REALLY early in the morning after a late night and 18 hours traveling in the car with my children:)

If you would like to try Aventura clothing for yourself, I have some discount codes to share with you. The codes are good for a one-time use up to $250 for 60% off retail pricing. That’s an awesome deal. Believe me I know because I am about to use one for myself to order the Waverly maxi dress which normally retails for $87 and with the discount code, I can get it for $34.80. Oh yes, it will be mine. I will give out 10 discount codes to the first 10 requests I receive.

If you had the 60% discount, what would you spend it on from Aventura Clothing?

 

Disclosure: I am a 2014 Aventura Clothing Ambassador and was provided product for review but all opinions and thoughts are my own.

 

 

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travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting

When my family and I traveled to Orlando, Florida recently, we had the pleasure of attending Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba at Disney World. We love taking our girls to the theater and letting them enjoy cultural events while they are still young enough to really enjoy the magic because of the infinite possibilities of their imaginations and let them develop a love for the arts naturally.We’ve been taking them to the ballet and the Chicago Shakespeare theater for years; next stop, Broadway. La Nouba tells the fascinating story of the boundless and festive journey of the imagination. The Big Guy and I first saw La Nouba on our honeymoon in 1999. Since then, the Cirque du Soleil and, more specifically, La Nouba have held a special place in our heart. So, imagine how excited we were to share it with our daughters?

travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting, Disney World

In case you are unfamiliar with Cirque du Soleil, it is a version of the circus that is humane, uses no animals and captivates the audience, young and old alike, with acrobatic feats that defy the imagination and music that makes your feel like the whole thing is a wonderful, magical dream. Dazzling costumes, dramatic lighting, bizarre choreography and ethereal operatic music set the stage for clownish observations, a human puppet and a host of amazing acrobats that all bend and weave together to create one of the most exciting and engaging shows under the soleil.

travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting, Disney World

A door opens and the two worlds collide. Enter the attic of make-believe, where the mundane meets the marvelous. Dreams and nightmares intertwine. La Nouba which calls on both individual and collective memory, is an unforgettable journey into a world at once threatening and exhilarating, frightening and familiar. La Nouba beckons to us, challenges us to uncover passions we thought we had lost long ago; to frolic in our childhood dreams and enter a place where the extraordinary transforms and overcomes the ordinary.

 

travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting, Disney World

We took our daughters, ages 6 and 9 at the time, and they both were enthralled with the performers. My 6-year-old LOVED the Titan, especially when he performed on the trampolines and the little girls doing the Diabolos act. In fact, she made me buy her her very own set and plays with them almost daily. My 9-year-old was smitten with the Green Bird and the dancers. The Big Guy finds the power track/ trampoline act to be the big show stopper. Me, I must confess, I am mesmerized by the aerial ballet in silk. The show definitely has something for everyone and I could go on for days talking about La Nouba but as a picture is worth a 1000 words, a production like La Nouba leaves me speechless. La Nouba is something that has to be experienced to be believed and to fully enjoy it.

travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting, Disney World

Next time you are at Disney World, and I know you will be if you have kids, if you are on the fence on whether or not to take your children to see La Nouba, I am here to tell you that it will be something they will never forget.

travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting

Have you been to a Cirque du Soleil production? What was your favorite act or character?

travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting, Disney World

If you’ve seen La Nouba, what was your favorite part of the show?

Photo Cirque du Soleil

Disclosure: I was provided 2 tickets for review purposes, but all opinions and thoughts are my own. I’ve been in love with La Nouba since the first time I saw it on my honeymoon in 1999.

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Honda, Odyssey, minivan

Dear Minivan Mommies,

Do NOT go gentle into that good night. Fight it. Rage against the temptation nay the spiritual castration that is the minivan. Sure they make them in secret agent squirrel charcoal and sleek Land Rover black. Ooh, they try to fool us into believing those minivans are cool. But remember your senses woman, a grocery getter, is the station wagon of the 70s, is the fast track to Loserville…population you and every other pajama jean wearing mother in the pick up line.

Sure my Mommy friends have tried to convince me that their minivan is cool. They pull up to stoplights all over suburbia and rev up their engine, taunting me beckoning me to race them. Their tricked out grocery getter van versus my sleek, sturdy, gas guzzling SUV. Any way you slice it ladies, no matter how tricked out your minivan may be…you my friend are no SUV.

I don’t care if it has a built in movie room, seating for 16, plush leather interior, a bed, a kitchen and a craft room. I don’t care if you can fit the entire football team and cheer squad in that bitch. I don’t even care if there’s a built in wine cooler and keg refrigerator for tailgating. I may have just lied to myself, a wine cooler and keg fridge could possibly cause me to take a second look. So what if you come with all the bells and whistles for less than the cost of my yearly Starbucks habit. I will not be seduced. Hell, your minivan’s baby changer/bather/breastfeeder combo and human butler do not impress me. I have standards.

You can’t look cool, singing the Wiggles and driving a small bus. You are not sexy with your pony tail blowing in the wind as your onstar directs you to the nearest Starbucks. I don’t give a flying rat’s ass what that creepy bald guy told you at the dealership. Tell him he can keep his pajama jeans, you don’t need them. You want a big SUV, with a lot of power so that you can show all the other soccer moms who’s really the boss and it ain’t Tony Danza. It’s the mom with the biggest tank and the most European vehicle.Keep in mind that SUV also comes in handy for running punk student drivers off the road, if the need should ever arise. I’m just saying.

I think Minivans should be outlawed. Every time I pull up behind one, I instinctively want to ram it in the rear.I loathe them. I look at the minivan and I see all the hopes and dreams of the women behind the wheel…crushed into dust as they soldier on, getting their groceries, taxing their children and having their spirit stolen from them. I see dead people where there used to be vibrant, independent women.

I know this is an irrational fear of a vehicle but I refuse to go gentle into that good night. I will fight it kicking and screaming. I will throw a full on two-year-old tantrum, I don’t care who stares with gaping mouth. I will rage against the minivan for as long as I can take breath into my chest and as long as I can fit my kids into my SUV. I am throwing down the gauntlet and vowing to you to never have more kids than I can fit into an SUV, no matter how you tart it up and prance it around in front of me.I will not fall for your sultry, vixen like ways. I will resist temptation. Are you pro minivan? Anti-minivan?

Are you a recent convert to the church of minivan?

**This post originally went live on October 11, 2011 but I have been looking at new vehicles and I needed the reminder to be strong because I’ve got to admit with 2 kids, that new Honda Odyssey minivan with the built-in vacuum cleaner “almost” made me a convert. I am afraid of what might happen if I actually test drove that minivan.

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We all know that Disney World is a magical place filled with fairy dust and fueled on the laughter and happiness of children. It happens to be one of our favorite places, and when I say our, I mean my husband and I.

For some reason, it seems like since we had children we just haven’t had the time or money to go. Nonetheless, we love Disney and our girls desperately want to go.

We are actually planning on surprising them with a couple days in Disney World in June, as a side trip on a surprise visit to Orlando. I plan on filming them when we tell them. Stay tuned. I am pretty sure that my 7-year-old might just faint on the spot and my 4-year-old, I am fairly positive that she will do a happy dance along with some woohoo! followed by some, ” You’re the best mommy I ever had!” I can’t wait.

But it made me think, with only two days to blow my little girls’ minds, I better figure out what the coolest things to do at Disney World with little kids actually is.

  • The Magic Kingdom and the Main Street electrical parade and fireworks
  • Explore Cinderella’s castle
  • Meet the Princesses and get their autographs
  • Go see Cirque du Soleil
  • Take a Ride on a Fringe-Topped Surrey, family style
  • Sushi and Karaoke at the Swan and Dolphin
  • Go to the Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater at MGM
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • It’s a Small World
  • Mad Tea Party

I am sure there are loads more that I am forgetting, but for right now, these are on my list.

What do you recommend as a must see at Disney World for a 4 and 7 year old?

 

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airplane, flying, jet plane, claustrophobia

Flying for the First Time

In a couple weeks, I will be flying on an airplane for the first time ever. Not that I’ve ever flown without an airplane. I don’t have wings, have never jumped off a building or been catapulted across a field or shot out of a canon. Yes, I do realize that I am forty and have never flown. In case you were wondering, it has nothing to do with a fear of heights or death. Though, honestly, I would prefer not to die on my first flight. I’m not counting on one of those ironic moments where I waited half my life to take my first flight only to crash. That would be completely uncool. No, I’ve never flown because I’ve just never had the opportunity.

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Disney, Magic Kingdom, Orlando Florida, Walt Disney World

Disney, Magic Kingdom, Orlando Florida, Walt Disney World

The Most Magical part of the Magic Kingdom

We’re starting the Orlando tips with my favorite place, Disney Magic Kingdom. Earlier this month my family visited the Walt Disney World Resort and I promised you all that I would give you some reviews and tips of some of the places we went. Today, I’ll be sharing tips with you on how to maximize your experience at the Magic Kingdom, by far every kids favorite place on earth. The Big Guy and I have been to Walt Disney World many times before having our girls, including on our honeymoon. However, it was our first visit to Disney World with our girls. It was their very first trip to the happiest place on earth and it needed to be extra magical.

If you’ve already been to the Magic Kingdom, you may know some of these tips already but if you’ve never been with kids you may want to take some notes on things to do. Believe me it’s a completely different magical experience with children.

  • If you have children under the age of 8, pay the $15 for a single or $31 for a double stroller if you have more than one kid. They will get overwhelmed and exhausted and you will be carrying children. Save your back, rent a stroller.
  • If you have girls, you must take them to the Bibbidi Bobbidi boutique. It was by far one of my daughters’ most cherished memories and ours, as well.
  • Grab a map of the park and the list of times for meet and greets and where the meet and greets will be held. Believe me, if your kid has no interest in meeting Daisy Duck and you get stuck in that traffic, you will not be in a good mood. I suggest finding out who your child’s must meet characters are and then planning your time in the park around those meet and greet opportunities. Believe me if your daughter sees Rapunzel walking around and you didn’t get her autograph, overtired children will mutiny on your ass, right in the middle of the happiest fucking place on earth.True Story.
  • Wear comfortable shoes that stay on, can get wet and don’t pose a trip and fall hazard.
  • Be sure to buy your autograph book before you get to the Magic Kingdom for the simple fact that you won’t want to waste the time in line at the shop when you should be in line for meet and greets. And when you walk up to the characters, have the book already open to the page your child wants them to sign on. Then date the autograph, so you can remember the trip properly.
  • Fast pass is your friend. Get fast passes for everything that they offer fast passes for including shows and popular rides with the children. This also includes the meet and greet with the princesses and Mickey and Minnie, if not expect to waste 45-70 minutes waiting to meet your children’s heroes. I am NOT exaggerating. There are not enough hours in the day to meet and greet all the characters. You must prioritize or have the entire week to devote just to the Magic Kingdom.
  • Make sure to take a little time and plan your day. There is so much to do and so little time to fit it all in. Prioritize what your family will not want to miss, then be sure to know when and where all the parades are and then make reservations for lunch and above all else, make sure that you have rain ponchos. It’s Florida and it rains all the time. I suggest wearing a bathing suit under your shorts, less chance of chafing and faster dry time.
  • Remember why you are there. You’ve taken your kids to the happiest place on earth. Let them enjoy it and turn off your phones and unplug. They are only this age once, be in the moment. Soak it all in and let yourself see the magic of the Magic Kingdom.
  • Take a break when you are tired. Soldiering on is not going to make it magical for anyone. Depending on the ages of your children, going on without breaks or naps could be disastrous and ruin the entire trip. This is supposed to be fun, not miserable.
  • Last but not least, allow for spontaneity. The best things happen when you least expect them, you only have to be open to allowing then the opportunity to happen and that won’t happen if you are too busy rushing to the next ride. Magic happens all around us, you need to be looking in order to see it.

It was our first trip to Disney World and the Magic Kingdom and we will definitely be going back.

What was your child’s favorite  attraction at the Magic Kingdom?

 

Disclaimer: I was provided passes to Disney World/ Magic Kingdom for review purposes but all opinions are my own.

 

 

 

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vacation, disney world, Orlando Florida, Universal Studios, Shingle Creek, paradise, family vacation

Vacation

Family Vacation, the very term conjures up images of the Griswolds driving cross country, singing songs and wreaking havoc all while narrowly escaping death. This was sort of what our trip was like. Only it was a much needed and soul replenishing vacation in Orlando, Florida that began in an amazing hotel ans ended in Disney world. I can’t believe how much vacationing we fit into our 10 day road trip. Oh yeah, that’s right, I did it again. I swore I never would but I did and what a difference a few years makes. The difference between traveling with a 5 and 7 year and a 2 and 4 year old is the difference between strolling through the park on a sunny Sunday afternoon and being chased through the park during the middle of the night by an axe murderer with Mommy issues. World of difference. Vacation road trip was a huge success, if you don’t take into account the fact that I developed a raging case of shark week on the return trip home. Oye vey, my poor family.

Honestly,there is so much to tell you and so many great places and things to do in Orlando that I want to share with you that I am going to write this as a series over the next few weeks, every Friday will be Florida vacationing tips, tricks and honest reviews of some of the places we visited. Unfortunately, all were not great experiences.

As you can see from some of the photos above, there is a LOT to do in Florida and so many places to choose to spend your time and money so I feel it’s my duty to share what I learned; good, bad and ugly. Here are a few general tips to keep in mind while road tripping with small children:

  1. Invest in a DVD player for the car. It will save your sanity and their little lives.
  2. Bring snacks because small children and husbands get the munchies when they are on the road and the only thing that is worse than “are we there yet?” is a screamed chorus of “I’m hungry!”
  3. Bring water because apparently in places where the humidity is 200% and you might die of dehydration, they feel it’s okay to charge $5 for a bottle of water. Hint: You can buy an entire case of bottled water for $5 in most cities, including Orlando, at the grocery store. Publix is  your friend.
  4. Never buy hotel rooms or tickets through a third party, there are hidden charges. Believe me we learned this lesson twice on this vacation to a total of about $300. Not a whole lot of money but it could have been spent on something better than what it was wasted on. Just say no to third party sales.
  5. Always make sure to have children’s ibuprofen, adult ibuprofen, a thermometer, Neosporin, band-aids, hydrocortizone and pepto bismol in your bag at all times.
  6. Bring a water proof back pack to carry your camera, passes, keys, extra clothes and bottles of water in while sight seeing.
  7. When staying in a hotel, if you are watching your money, it may be worth it to consider going off grounds to purchase dinner. Case in point: Dinner for 4 at one of the hotel restaurants was  $45 for sandwiches and drinks. Off grounds, the same meal would have cost about $20. Just something to think about.
  8. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS take a rain poncho with you when visiting Florida. I know that no one wears those damn ugly things unless they are going to a sporting event in the rain or an amusement park in the rain. We never buy these things until we are being rained on and then it will cost you an arm and a leg for essentially the cheapest Glad trash bag you will ever encounter. Know this now. It rains in Orlando, a lot. I’ve been several times and in every season and it ALWAYS rains. Somehow, I forgot and left the $1000 rain ponchos that I bought on my last trip at home and had to buy more. 6 more! There are only 4 of us but 2 of them ripped. There I was in the middle of the happiest place on earth getting water logged and extremely pissed off and then I laughed at myself, grabbed my 7 year old and started dancing and singing in the rain. Fuck it. Life’s too short! But if you melt and rain annoys you, BUY A RAIN PONCHO!
  9. Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen and Aloe. It is hot as hell in Florida and I’m not entirely sure that it is not the gateway to the underworld but it is beautiful and after awhile of looking into the sun and cooking yourself to 165 degrees, you get used to it. You may even stop sweating in 110 degree weather. Not me, I was sweating like a whore in church the entire time I was there but you may be a cooler cat than I on vacation. Once your eyes adjust and you get used to looking directly into the sun, don’t forget that you are probably being burnt to a crisp. Reapply sunscreen, SPF 50+ every 80 minutes and don’t forget the SPF lip balm. Believe me when I tell you, I forgot to reapply to myself. I thought I was safe because of my olive Latina skin. No one is safe. Florida chews up Latinos for breakfast every day and spits them out for lunch. Currently, I am no longer red but I am the damn freckliest Mexibilly you ever did see. But what about the children? I reapplied sunscreen to them every hour and they STILL got red.Please don’t let your babies burn. Nothing ruins a family vacation faster than a kid in pain from sunburn.

vacation, Disney World, Universal Studios, Orlando Florida, Rosen Shingle Creek,the Magic Kingdom, MGM Hollywood studios, Disney's Boardwalk, Kouzzina

So much to say and do in Florida, there’s definitely more than just face eating zombies to keep you entertained. Our Griswold family vacation to Florida was pretty much awesome, with the exception of a few minor shark week induced over reactions, being water logged while alternately sweating our asses off and being burnt to a crisp and the incident with public relations at the place I will hence to forth refer to as Florida Throat Punch Recipient #1 (Universal). We loved our vacation and still think Florida is the happiest place on earth. I’m already planning next year’s trip. I’ve got loads of info about all the hottest things to do with children on your family vacation to Florida and will be giving you the down low on Fridays.

I need a vacation from my vacation

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World’s Largest Children’s Museum~Wordless Wednesday

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Bucca de Beppo

Sangria For Mommy

 

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Indianapolis Childrens Museum

Indianapolis Childrens Museum

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BumbleBee

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Portrait made of Jelly beans

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The Great Wall of China

Marriot Carmel

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The infamous Burrito as Big as My head

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This week is “Spring Break” for us. Why in quotes you ask? Well, it just didn’t feel right without them seeing a it has been in the 40’s and I have been running even more than usual.Spring Break for the girls means a complete and total upset in my routine. Don’t get me wrong, I love nothing more than hanging out with my girls and bonus, the Big Guy even has a few days off this week. Double Score.

There’s been staying up late, waking up late (7:30 vs. 6 am), sugary foods, shopping with Grandma,movies, visiting the sites and a general breakdown of all boundaries.The piece de resistance? The Big Guy decided that he wanted to break the new Cooper in and take a long drive to anywhere….Savannah.Of course, he made this family vacation plan a week before it was actually supposed to happen. Everybody had the same idea…to head for warmer weather, but they had the good sense to make their reservations and plans weeks in advance.Not us. We like to buck the system. System, we don’t need no stinking system.I was all excited to walk around Forsyth park and eat at Paula Deans restaurant, not to mention take in some vitamin D. But none of that’s happening now because our only option was the airport hotel. And we collectively decided after driving 14 hours in a COOPER and knowing we’d have to turn around in 2 days to drive 14 more hours to stay in an airport hotel , somehow it all just lost its pizazz.

Needless to say, we’re going to another destination, which I’ll post about when we get back but it’s gotten me thinking about all the places I wish I was going.Damn you day dreaming! I like to imagine that I am being whisked off to Paris, where I could be surrounded by culture, art and lovely French accents.Or perhaps a family trip to Aruba,where the water is bluer than my daughter’s eyes and there is a plethora of vitamin D for my entire family. San Francisco where the steep streets are lined with pastel houses and trolley cars. New Orleans, where my hair frizzes up into an afro but I’m so drunk on Cafe Du Monde beignets and hurricanes that I don’t even care. Or perhaps, lounging on the beach in Cape Cod while the smell of fresh lobster wafts through the air co-mingling with the smell of sea salt. I can imagine a lazy day walking in the sand and surf in Key West, while Jimmy Buffet songs feel in the gaps within my mind. The smell of coconut scented tanning lotion and the warm sun shining on my face, make me happy. So many wonderful places to travel to with my family, so little time.

For now, I’ll be using my imagination and dreaming of warmer weather.Tomorrow, we’ll be on our way to somewhere to spend family time having fun with our girls. After all is said and done, warm weather is nice but time together, no matter where you are at, is what it’s all about. Of course, it can only be made better by a little extra vitamin D.

So, if you see a little gun metal grey Cooper whizzing through your town full of giants..that would be us. Honk! Where is your dream family vacation?

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