We’re off!

After months of planning and approximately 900 Facebook Messenger exchanges later, I’m headed off on a moms’ cruise! A few ladies who live in our neighborhood coordinate the effort every year, and this year I’m joining in the fun.

We’re headed to Miami, then Key West, on to Cozumel, then back to Miami and home again. I’m *finally* packed and as ready as I can be – Mystically Tanned, hair touched up and cut, nails done, internet scoured for fun things to wear. Here’s a few things I owned and others I picked up for the trip, like this green bandage dress for under $50!

Bow sandals: Steve Madden  |  Gingham set: Goodnight Macaroon  | Black swimsuit: J. Crew  |  Dress: Amazon  | Earrings: Target  |  Clutch: Pomegranate (this one’s under $40!)  |  Wedges: J. Crew (similar)  |  Ruffled top: J. Crew   (similar)  |  White jeans: J. Crew (similar)  |  Striped tee: J. Crew  |  Jeans: J. Crew

I’ll try to keep up on Insta stories and a few pics – have a great weekend, everyone!

Asheville Girls’ Weekend

Baaack to life, baaaack to reality…

I hope everyone had a good weekend! I’m getting back into the routine after spending the weekend in Asheville, North Carolina with a group of great friends from my neighborhood. We left Friday afternoon and headed straight to The Grove Park Inn for lunch at Edison Craft Ales + Kitchen and a drink by the massive fireplace.

After settling into our cabin, we played a few intense rounds of Prosecco Pong and got ready for dinner at Curate, the #3 restaurant in Asheville. The drinks and food lived up to the reviews – everything we tried was absolutely outstanding! Our table split the paella de verduras and not one bit was left. It’s a must try; just  be sure to place your paella order 40 min in advance so the chef has plenty of time to prepare. We headed out on the town afterward, stopping at Social Lounge and a few other local bars before heading back to the cabin.

Top: J. Crew (similar here and here  |  Pants: H&M (only $17.99!) |  Shoes: Gianni Bini (similar) |  Suede clutch: Lidl (seriously!)

On Saturday, we slept in, made brunch, then headed out for lunch at Corner Kitchen, shopping in Biltmore Village and a drink at the Grand Bohemian before heading back to the cabin for the evening. We bundled ourselves up, made another fire (necessary – it was sooo cold), played games and had great conversation. Such a great finish to a fun weekend away with friends.

#squadgoals

Poor C wasn’t feeling well when I returned on Sunday, and let’s be honest, I was also exhausted, so we didn’t do much beyond loaf around and order takeout. Now we’re back to the grind, resuming resolutions and preparing for a visit with family later this week. I bundled up today and hit our neighborhood trails for a 4.3 mile run in an attempt to catch up on the lululemon 40 | 80 challenge. With only 6 days left, wish me luck…

Weekend in the mountains

We spent last weekend at the Oak Haven Resort in Sevierville, Tennessee, visiting our friends that my husband met in college, their wives and little ones. It was so great to spend quality time with everyone who we don’t get to see often enough and even more fun to watch our kids play and have fun getting to know each other better! It was such a great, relaxing weekend in the mountains and beautiful fall leaves were the perfect backdrop.

Featured in Southern Living magazine, Oak Haven Resort has gorgeous grounds and is full of amenities – fully equipped cabins, an on-site spa, hiking trails, playground, pool, fitness center, arcade/game room and the Sevierville Golf Club is just a few minutes away.  Our 3 bedroom cabin had a loft area, bar and game room complete with pop-a-shot, ping pong and cornhole boards, three porches, a hot tub and plenty of big windows for panoramic views of the mountains.

There’s much to do and see for adults and kids, both at the resort and in Sevierville; we took our little ones to the RainForest Adventures Discovery Zoo, an indoor/outdoor zoo where they got to feed goats, sheep and a pig, see monkeys, lizards, snakes, spiders (eeee!) and other wild creatures. We did some hiking around the resort grounds, hit up the playground, ate/drank and had a wonderful visit.

At the RainForest Adventures Discovery Zoo – be sure to buy a bag of food for the animals when entering the zoo. It’s only $3 and is so much fun for little ones!

On C: top: H&M  |  Jeans: H&M  |  Shoes: Mini Melissa  |  Bow: Wee Ones 
On me: top: lululemon  |  Pants: lululemon  |  Shoes: Nike

To prep for travel, we keep a static list of toiletries and gear needed for ourselves and C, then create a daily matrix with planned activities and forecasted weather – this is where I’ll plot outfits for myself and C, then print and pack the lists for reference. I try to stick with the options + an extra change or two of clothes for C in order to avoid overpacking…but it happens despite our best efforts.

It takes approximately 4 hours from Charlotte to Sevierville; longer car trips are no joke with a two year old. It requires All The Snacks, patience, juice, an iPad, stickers, coloring books and markers, and whatever else you can throw at the expanse of time to keep the peace. For snacks, I packed organic lollipops, raisins, fruit leather, RXBARS, Larabars, some Halloween candy for treats, YumEarth organic gummies, applesauce and fruit/veggie pouches, a couple of cereal bars, crackers/pretzels/dried fruit packed in our favorite Munchkin snack cups with lids to keep food fresh.

We try to stop at a restaurant with a play place (try the PlayPlaces app) in order to give C some exercise while on the road. If one isn’t available and/or we just need to use the restroom and not grab food, we’ll stop at a rest area (there’s an app for that, too!) to stretch our legs and get the wiggles out. While we pack as many healthy food options as we can, we typically buy a few extra food items while stopped at a restaurant to have on hand for snacks or a quick meal on the go, such as a yogurt parfait, chicken strips, apple slices, a banana, container of milk, etc. These often come through in a pinch, when plans change or for an impromptu picnic; with a toddler, you don’t want to be caught without. Ever.

Never underestimate the power of a lollipop, friends. It buys goodwill as well as peace and quiet. Pack many; this is not the time to be stringent.

On me: top: J. Crew  |  Jeans: Rag and Bone  |  Booties: Madewell (similar)  | Bracelets: Tory Burch (similar), J. Crew (similar) and Pure Vida  | Watch: vintage Tag Heuer (new, similar)
On C: top and leggings, Tea Collection (similar top and leggings)  |  High-tops: See Kai Run (similar)

 

What’s your favorite place to check out gorgeous fall scenery? Any favorite tips and tricks for traveling with a toddler (so much alliteration), favorite apps, gear or other means for keeping the peace?

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving + gifts under $40

Happy Tuesday! Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and successfully emerged from their food comas. We had a great weekend – a Thanksgiving feast at the Blind Squirrel Brewery in the North Carolina high country and family time at the Linville Falls Golf Club, where little C took her first golf cart ride and tour of the course.

After heading back home, my in-laws came for a visit. We ate, shopped and celebrated my birthday with a delicious Nothing Bundt Cake (pretty sure I ate half of one myself) and an amazing surprise – a new Canon 70D! Can’t wait to shoot some outfit pics as it takes positively majestic photos of the baby and cats.

img_2993

C’s first golf cart ride.

linvillefalls linvillefallsimg_9598-6Anyone else hit Cyber Monday kinda hard? There were so many great deals that it was hard not to take advantage, er, get ahead of my gift list. Now that the dust’s settled, here are a few of my favorites under $40 for a variety of folks on your list.

giftsunder40

 

  • One cannot have too many ponytail holders. These hold hair tightly and come in a wide variety of colors.
  • You can’t go wrong with a fresh set of classic dishtowels. Williams Sonoma’s are built to last and coordinate with any decor.
  • One also cannot have too many Burt’s Bees. I keep one within reach at all times. It’s such a simple, small gift for the lip balm addict in your life.
  • This set of darling kate spade notecards come in handy throughout the year for thank yous or general well-wishes, plus, the box is cute enough to display on your desk.
  • My favorite throw from Restoration Hardware is currently a steal at $29! I’ve given this gift to several people and it’s always been a hit. So soft and in plenty of decor-neutral colors.
  • For the runner, athlete or commuter in your life – The North Face ETip gloves (for men and women) let you use your phone while keeping your hands toasty.
  • My favorite scent, Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb, in a convenient travel-sized spray! It’s the perfect size for travelers (fits handily in a quart-sized baggie), in your purse or diaper bag.
  • For anyone or everyone on your list – a classic frame with a photo of a special memory is always a hit. My favorite is this Pottery Barn wood gallery frame in white or black.

weekend recap + stripes and blanket scarves

Hope everyone had a fun weekend! We met up with friends from my childhood for a road trip through Asheville, North Carolina and good ole’ Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It was so great to get a surprise visit with them, meet their new baby girl and check out some gorgeous fall views from atop the Smoky Mountains. In Asheville, we met up for lunch at Well-Bred Bakery and Cafe, which had a bakery case to die for as well as a menu that made choosing a meal your most difficult decision of the day.

From Asheville, we drove to Gatlinburg for dinner, strolling around downtown and hiking in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. We took the trail to Laurel Falls for some hiking with the babies, who (of course) snoozed through much of the beautiful scenery.

img_9695-69

High atop the mountains.

img_9716-84

Laurel Falls

For car travel, I like to keep it polished yet comfortable. A striped crewneck, cozy scarf and leggings fit the bill – like pajamas in disguise, because I’m sneaky like that. Flats are key for lots of driving and walking, plus they fold down nicely to free up precious real estate in your travel bag.

img_9576-4

img_9581-5

img_9566-2

img_9571-3

BP Crewneck (sold out, similar), Zella leggings, scarf (gift, similar here and here), Tory Burch Caroline flats.