Archive of ‘Bon Voyage’ category

Colorado

 

We had an absolute blast with our small group in Colorado a couple weeks ago! There’s something special about the mountains that just overwhelm me with a sense of gratitude for nature’s beauty. We stayed in an amazing house in Buena Vista right at the base of Mt. Princeton, skied at Monarch, shopped in Salida and Buena Vista and cooked A LOT of food at the house. We played games, hot tubbed and grew closer together as a small group. I can’t wait for the next trip!

Here are some of the pics from our time in the Rocky Mountain state:

This is our scenic drive up to the house we stayed in.

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Our shack for the weekend :) Basically the nicest house I’ve stayed in thus far in the mountains. Not too shabby!

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Our view of Mt. Princeton from the living room. Pretty amazing view to wake up to!

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This is downtown Salida. It’s charming and quaint and has some really great shops and restaurants that you need to check out if you’re in the area!

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DSC_0717Skiing at Monarch with part of the group…

BV skiiersYou can’t tell it from this pic well, but this lift was so steep it really freaked me out! At least it was gorgeous so that took my mind off of it for a bit. It seemed like the longest lift ever!

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Here are some pics from the picturesque town of Buena Vista in the South Main area. Little fact: It’s located in the Banana Belt, so it actually doesn’t get much snow each year.

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The Buena Vista Roastery where I had an awesome drink–a Dirty Hippie. It’s a chai latte with a shot of espresso. This place is eclectic and has great pastries (even gluten free!)

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The Brown Dog Coffee Co. also had great drinks and gluten free pastries. I basically really love eating in Colorado because you can find GF everywhere! I’m partial to this one because of my own big brown dog!

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Riding ATV’s on Mt. Princeton after our near death experience! We hit a huge patch of ice near the top of the mountain and I leaped off that ATV faster than lightening! Luckily no one was hurt and we had ropes that we could tie to the ATV to get it back on the path.

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Pretty pics…

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Are you dying to take a trip to the mountains now??

 

30-A Sunrises and Sunsets

 

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I just love the sea! As I said before, there is something about it that makes me feel closer to God. The peace that washes over me as I watch a sunrise or sunset on the ocean is indescribable. It’s as if God is reminding me that He’s bigger than any problem, and He’s capable of beauty that is beyond my imagination.

Here are a few glimpses of paradise that I caught while on vacation.

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God’s glory filled the skies every morning and night. It was an incredible display of beauty that reminded me how amazing and faithful He truly is. I’m so thankful for times like that which I can look back on and feel a special peace deep within my soul.

30-A Favorites

 

30-A will always hold precious memories for my family. We have been vacationing in Seaside since I was 8 years old, and my parents eventually bought a house there my freshman year of high school. I worked a couple summers down there, participated in many July 4th parades, and in the summer of 2008, my sister and I had a double wedding at the chapel in Seaside. I will always love that area, and I’ve seen it grow tremendously since I first started visiting in 1990. I’m excited to share some of my favorite places on 30-A with you!

Favorite Coffee Shop: Amavida in Seaside & Rosemary Beach, FL

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Amavida is a combination of the Spanish words “Amar” (to love) and “vida” (life) and you can tell that this company is all about loving life for their farmers, customers and employees! They use fair trade, organically grown, high-quality coffees and teas. I personally love their iced coffee with a little agave syrup and cream added. Patrick loves their vanilla latte. These photos were taken at their Seaside location where they also serve authentic Latin American food. I had their “La Reina” Arepa which is a corn cake stuffed with chicken and avocado, and it was incredible! I highly recommend it!

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Favorite Brunch: Great Southern in Seaside, FL

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I love a good brunch with good drinks, good food, and good atmosphere. Great Southern has all that (and they even have bacon and pecan waffles!) It’s in the center of Seaside, so it’s fun to sit on the patio and watch everything going on.  Oh, don’t worry, we did have mimosas as well!

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Favorite Dinner: Paradis in Rosemary Beach, FL

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Paradis has an incredible menu and did an excellent job attending to my gluten free diet. We loved it so much we went twice! I had the same meal both times because it was just that good. I ordered the snapper with brussel sprouts, zucchini on potatoes in lieu of gnocchi, with a lobster yellow coconut curry cream sauce–yum!

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Patrick had the Grouper, and it was excellent!

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The drinks were also amazing!

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And the dessert…magnifique (and gluten free!)

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Favorite Bookstore: Sundog Books in Seaside, FL

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Sundog Books is hands down my favorite bookstore ever! It’s this small, quirky yet quaint bibliotheque filled with books in every nook and cranny. I love looking through the favorites of each person who works there as well as checking out the unique gifts. It’s a great place to go and spend a couple hours if you want a break from the sun or during one of those afternoon rain showers.

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Favorite Store: Mercantile in Seaside, FL

If you like unique, vintage, comfortable and earthy, you will love Mercantile! This store has a look that screams boho-chic. From the jewelry to the gifts, the clothing to the cowboy boots, this boutique has it all while oozing with southern charm and American pride. You can shop them online at http://www.shopmerc.com.

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My favorite item I bought while I was on vacation is this necklace from Suzanne Kallay Designs. Suzanne is a local designer who creates one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces from repurposed materials such as antlers, bullets and deerskin. Check her out on Insta at suzannekallaydesigns.

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Another favorite Mercantile buy is this dress from designer Mamie Ruth–love the built in cape! It’s perfect with a pair of cowboy boots!

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Favorite Dessert: La Crema in Rosemary Beach, FL

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La Crema tapas and chocolate is a great place to go for appetizers and dessert. They have an excellent happy hour as well. Patrick and I wanted a light meal, so we headed there one night to eat and catch the sunset. We split the chèvre stuffed peppers and Baylor brussel sprouts. Yes, I did ask if they were named after my alma mater and sure enough, they are! The owner’s daughter is a current student at Baylor University! Sic ’em Bears!

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Patrick ordered a spicy chicken tapas next (not GF) while I had the eggplant–amazing!

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And the dessert…OMG! Unfortunately, I couldn’t eat too many desserts there, but boy do I wish I could have!  They have several different fondues to choose from–dark chocolate, milk chocolate, peanut butter chocolate and Nutella, in addition to chocolate soup, molten cakes and espresso cookies just to name a few! I had the chocolate mousse, and it was very good!

lacremadessertFavorite Beach: Watercolor, FL

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Okay, honestly, all the beaches along 30-A are INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL! The reason I like Watercolor is for the fact that there is nothing to the west of it, so it’s like your own private beach. During the summer, Watercolor beach gets extremely crowded, but, you always have that stretch of open beach until you reach Grayton. I love to walk that direction and go for a dip in the ocean to remind myself how big and amazing God truly is. I don’t know what it is about that area, but I always feel a little closer to God.

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I’ll leave you with one of my favorite photos I took at the beach one morning when I woke up before sunrise. I hope you can get down to 30-A sometime soon! Feel free to email me if you have any questions about that area! I’d love to know your 30-A favorites as well!

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Watercolor

 

So, I basically just spent the most amazing, relaxing two weeks of my life in Watercolor, FL.  I’m so thankful that my new job allows me to take off and do things like this and that my sweet parents rented this incredible house for us to stay in.  I’m so excited to give you a peek into this luxurious, blissful, seaside home.

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The front of the house on Park Row Lane, just a few steps from the beach!

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watercolor bathroom 1Bedroom and bathroom number 1 located on the first floor.

watercolor bedroom 2watercolor bathroom 2Bedroom and bathroom #2 located on the first floor. This was my chambre for 14 days!

watercolor kitchen 1The magnificent kitchen and breakfast bar with gas stove, 2 dishwashers, 2 sinks and a wine fridge on the second floor!

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This was the little dining nook behind the kitchen.

watercolor kitchen:diningA look at the dining area and kitchen from the family room.

watercolor den 1watercolor den 2A couple views of the family room. I spy Ellington’s bum on the balcony!

watercolor balcony 1watercolor porch swingThe adorable balcony/porch with swing. This was my favorite spot because…

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Look at that view of the ocean just beyond the dunes!

watercolor powder bathI just couldn’t leave out the cute little powder bath on the second floor! I mean, it even has a little heart-shaped drain!

watercolor loftThis is the third floor loft area outside the master suite. It has a trundle bed so it’s ideal for the kiddos and it has a pretty sweet ocean view!

watercolor master 1 watercolor master 3watercolor master 2This is luxury…the third floor master has a large walk-in closet with washer and dryer and a huge bathroom with walk-in rain shower! Not pictured is a private balcony off the master suite with table and chairs.

All in all, you can see that this house was fabulous! We will definitely be staying here again. It was close to the beach, very comfortable, and the biggest plus–they accept dogs! It was a bit sad at first since this was our family’s first time to vacation there since selling our Seaside home, but this house was inviting and didn’t disappoint!

Stay tuned for a post on all my 30-A favorites!

 

 

My Solocation

 

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Everybody needs some time alone, to get away, reflect, be still and listen. I haven’t taken a solo retreat really since I’ve been married and decided it was way overdue. Wanting to go somewhere out of the city and around natural beauty, I chose a place outside Austin, TX on Lake Travis called Living Waters. It got its name because the water running under the home was blessed by a group of monks before its construction. They host many yoga retreats and offer on-site yoga, Thai massage and holistic personal training.   Described as a B&R—Bed and Retreat, it is just that:  A place to get away from the craziness of everyday life and relax.

I stayed in the Romantic Red Eco Cabin. It was perfect for what I needed—a bed, a mini fridge for my groceries, a wine opener and wine glass. The bathroom was in a separate little eco cabin right next to mine and had a large bathtub and shower. On top of that building is the wine perch to sit and sip your wine or coffee. Although the lake is extremely low, there are still beautiful sunset views.

I enjoyed spending time at the Hamilton Pool, hiking to the Pedernales River, spending quiet time with God, reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, and drinking a glass of wine while watching the sunset. I would encourage everyone to take time once a year to get away and do this for themselves. It’s a good spiritual cleansing that will leave you feeling refreshed and at peace. I went with no expectations or plans other than enjoying each second and being led by the Spirit, and I was not let down. I’m looking forward to planning my next solocation!

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Pura Vida

 

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Costa Rica was an amazing trip with fun friends!  We loved the kindness of the locals, the diverse landscape and, of course, the beautiful beaches!  We stayed at a Hilton on the Papagayo Gulf but had a car so that we could travel to nearby towns and attractions.  Here’s a little peek into our vacation! (pictured above is the beach at Tamarindo)

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This little dog became our friend while eating lunch in Tamarindo.  It was almost 100 degrees during the day, so he needed a little dip.

CR treeThe trees are incredible and have these gigantic buttress roots that protect them.

CR hot springs

 

Here is one of the many natural hot springs that you find in Rincon de la Vieja.

CR country

This was a beautiful shot of the countryside and the most magnificent tree I’ve ever seen on our way to the rainforest at the Tenorio Volcano.  By the way, on this drive, we saw two sloth and experienced the bumpiest road of our lives!

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Me on the hanging bridges in the Tenorio rainforest.  You can’t tell by the photo, but I was 200 feet up and the bridges move quite a bit!

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Another pic of the hanging bridges looking down.

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If you look closely, you will see some of the many monkeys we experienced in CR!  The last night, a crazy, little monkey put on quite the show for us at the beach! We were so sad we didn’t have our cameras!

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A shot of the pool and cabana bar at night at the Hilton Papagayo.

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The view from our balcony of the Papagayo Bay at sunset.

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A beautiful sunset on the beach.

If you get a chance, book a trip to Costa Rica and enjoy the Pura Vida!  The adventures you can experience there are endless and the hospitality is incredible.  We look forward to returning one day!