Posts Tagged 'travel'

putting the suitcase away

I’m back!  After several weeks of traveling, house sitting, and more traveling, I am finally putting my suitcase away (that is, once I actually unpack it).

I have had so much fun this summer, but it seems impossible that tomorrow is the last day of July AND that this is my last week of summer break.  Where did it go?!

Last Wednesday I headed out to Nashville to spend the night before flying to Ohio on Thursday.  My first stop was Fleet Feet to get new running shoes!!!  Aren’t they awesome?!?!?!

Newshoes

That night, I met up with my mom and another girl and we went for dinner at this great little place called The Yellow Porch.  We didn’t go until 9 and we definitely missed the big crowd because we were seated immediately.  All of our food was wonderful, but the caprese salad stole the show.  

Nashdress

 

Ypcaprese

On Thursday morning, my mom and I went to a little place called Marche for a delicious breakfast before heading to the airport.  I ordered flax toast with fresh ricotta, peaches, and honey and a fried egg on the side.    Mom ordered one fried egg and the savory crepe of the day, which was potato, lemon, and mint.  Of course, we split our food and everything was delicious!

Peachesricottatoast

We flew to Columbus where my sweet cousin Laurel picked us up.  She had to go back to work, but dropped us at Easton to shop for a couple hours.  After a somewhat successful shopping trip and grabbing a light bite to eat, she picked us back up and we headed to her lovely home.  My amazing blogger friend, Lindsay from In Sweetness and in Health, lives nearby and came to meet us for dinner.  Lindsay and I connected through Kristen and got to know one another through our Bible study and countless emails and texts.  She is incredibly sweet, thoughtful, and caring.  If you don’t read her blog, you definitely should!  It was so much fun to finally meet her in person, and it really felt like I was just seeing an old friend.  We chatted the night away and enjoyed a scrumptious dinner at a cool pizzeria called Harvest.  I can’t wait until we can meet up again!

Natandlinds

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Late that night, we rode with my cousin to a little place outside Toledo.  We were there to celebrate with my mom’s oldest sister – 29 years of being cancer-free!  We joined in on all the food prep on Friday and also had a great time catching up on everyone’s life!  The party was Friday night, and it was a blast.  The food was great, and the DJ played a great mix of music until midnight.  Needless to say, when I wasn’t explaining my southern accent (those Ohio people thought it was so funny and kept asking me where I was from haha), I was dancing the night away.  It was a great night celebrating my aunt’s health and life.

Girlsinkitchenohio

On Saturday we spent the day at my aunt’s lovely home eating leftovers and watching my little cousins swim and play.  All too soon we were headed to the Detroit airport to catch our flight back to Nashville.  We drove straight from the airport to meet my cousin and her husband at The Cheesecake Factory (I had never been!) for dinner.  Oh my gosh – that menu is quite overwhelming!  I ordered a glass of skinny sangria, farro salad, and salmon rolls.  I couldn’t finish my meal, and ordering dessert was out of the question.  I guess I’ll have to go back sometime to get some cheesecake!  

Farrosalad

After crashing that night (I slept in the exact spot where Steve McNair was murdered – pretty cool, huh? – it’s actually a really nice apartment!), I got up the next morning and headed to my favorite place – Trader Joe’s!  I stocked up on everything I needed (and a few extra items…dark chocolate coconut bonbons…mmmm) and then headed home.  As soon as I walked in the door, I gave Daniel a quick kiss and then my mom’s other sister (from Texas) stopped by with her husband, one of her daughters and her grandson.  They were in town for a high school reunion, and it was so good to catch up with them!  When everyone left, the only thing I wanted to do was hang out with Daniel and take a nap haha.  Instead, I headed off to tumbling with my cheerleaders (who are truly amazing, by the way).  Once back home, we chilled for a bit and then I convinced Daniel to take me to Sonic for 1/2 price shakes.  I got a mini vanilla caramel hot fudge shake, and it was perfect.  After that, we both crashed!

Okay, enough of this rambling!  I hope that y’all had a great weekend!!!!!!!!!  I have an announcement later this week, so be watching for it!

much love,

natalie

so tell me…

Do you unpack your suitcase as soon as you get home, or do you put if off?

Do you see your family often (parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins)?

Vacation Recap: Mexico 2012

It’s hard to believe that this time last week we were still in Mexico trying to soak up every ounce of all-inclusive beachy goodness.  

This trip was one of my favorite vacations ever; it was just so perfect!  Sunshine the entire trip, wonderful food, amazing staff, and unlimited time with Daniel made for an amazing getaway.

Mexico3

 

Some highlights of the trip include:

relaxing on the beach in the beautiful sunshine every single day

Mexicoview

playing games around the pool with the activity staff (bingo, darts, trivia, dancing, etc)

salsa dance lessons

couples Swedish massage with hydrotherapy

Mexico2

snorkeling (we saw a barracuda – we used an underwater camera and I will put those pictures up soon!)

walking on the beach

Mexicokiss

delicious food & umbrella drinks

Mexicofoodcollage

seeing a giant sea turtle come up onto our beach to lay her eggs (they wouldn’t let us on the beach to take pictures since the flash would scare her, so this is the best picture we could get)

Seaturtle

acting silly with Daniel

Sillymexicocollage

Daniel was very excited that those pictures made the blog 😉

It was a very memorable trip, and it was wonderful to get to relax and spend all of our time together.  Maybe one day we can a view like this permanently…

Viewmexico2012

ahhhh…paradise

Now we have to start planning and saving for the next trip!  Any suggestions???? 

(You can check out our other Mexico vacations here and here.)

much love,

natalie

so tell me…

What is the most memorable vacation that you had?

What is your dream vacation???  I think mine would be Australia, but then I can also think of about 50 other places that I would also call dream vacations. 🙂

back to reality and a recipe

Hey friends!  I missed y’all while I was gone!  I hope that you had a great week last week and a wonderful weekend.

Obviously, we’re back from Cancun – sort of.  Instead of going to our house, we are house/pet sitting this week.  The home is beautiful and has a gorgeous pool and gourmet kitchen, so it’s a nice way to ease back into real life. 🙂  I do miss my fur babies though!  

I’ll have the vacation recap up later this week once I get the pictures sorted out.  I actually remembered to take pictures of the food this time!

In other news, yesterday was back to regular schedule for both Daniel and me.  He headed off to work around 630 while I was up making breakfast.  Martha and I worked out 7:30-9 and then I met up with Amy for some hot yoga at Gold’s Gym (mannnnn, it felt so good to stretch everything out).  After a lunch date with Mom and a quick trip into Marshalls, I was off to the gym to teach cardio dance, abs, and zumba.  It makes me tired just thinking back over it haha.  My body definitely got used to lounging by the pool or on the beach all day, but it’s good to be back to an active lifestyle.  At least that’s what I thought until I woke up this morning and went to get out of bed.

Oh my gosh my legs are so ridiculously sore!  It’s clear that they enjoyed the break haha.  Oddly enough, my calves are more sore than anything, and I can’t even remember the last time that was the case.  Teaching SHRED will be a definite challenge tonight, but it will be good to work out some of the soreness.

Since I have this amazing gourmet kitchen available this week, I’ve been cooking every single night.  I have to admit that I miss having all our meals prepared for us whenever we wanted, but I have enjoyed cooking again.  Sunday night was a cheesy chicken skillet with peppers and onions, and last night I made my favorite baked salmon recipe.  

First, I preheated the oven to 400. 

Salmonraw

Next, I combined about half a cup light mayo with salt, pepper, Rendezvous seasoning, grated parmesan cheese, lemon zest, and the juice from half a lemon. 

Salmonwithmayo

 I slathered that mixture onto a beautiful piece of salmon and baked for 20-25 minutes.

Bakedsalmon

 Served up with simple roasted asparagus, this was an easy and delicious weeknight meal.

Salmonandasparagus

 

Even though there are only two of us, I somehow manage to make enough for a family of six every time I cook.  Please tell me I’m not the only one that struggles with this.  Because of my tendency to cook enough to feed an army, leftovers are on the menu for tonight.  

Until I can get all the vacation pictures ready to post, I’ll leave you with this – the view from our room.   

Viewmexico2012

Ahhhh….I want to go back right now – let’s all just pack up and go!

 Have a great night!

much love,

natalie

So tell me…

What’s your favorite easy weeknight dinner?

Do you want to go back to Mexico with me!?!?!  I’m serious! Let’s go!

MEXICO 2011

I think it goes without saying that vacations are amazing.  Being able to get away from the busy, hectic, wired everyday chaos and allowing yourself to unplug and relax is the best thing ever.

Mexico was truly an incredible destination for our vacation this year.  If you know me at all, you know that I am an extremely cheap frugal person.  When Daniel and I were looking for a fun getaway for this summer, we were originally thinking just a quick drive down to the beach for a few nights.  However, as we were adding up the cost, the total kept growing and growing (groceries, condo, dinner, ridiculously high gas prices, etc), so we decided to check into some other options.  My friend Kathy put together an amazing deal for us at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico (including airfare, transportation to and from the resort, and travel insurance) for a fantastically lower price than our “quick beach trip” was going to cost us.  I think we hesitated about .371 seconds before agreeing and putting down a deposit on our trip.

We stayed at the Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun, and I have nothing but good things to say about this resort (honestly!).  The restaurants, the food, the beach, the staff, the service, the room, the view….it was all perfect!

Enough talk – check out the pictures (please forgive me for my poor photography skills).

*I honestly meant to take pictures of all my food, and I would set out my camera at each meal before the food arrived, but then the food would get there…and I forgot all about my camera.  Oops!

Arriving at the airport in Memphis for our early morning flight

Our first picture in Cancun!  At the airport in the looooooong customs line

The view from our room


the best guacamole ever!!!

in a creepy van…and thinking of all those movies we’ve seen where tourists get kidnapped…

fish tacos

our resort from the beach

gorgeous water

So, who wants to go back with me?  I’m ready!


Highlights of Mexico

I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaack!

Mexico was truly amazing, and it felt wonderful to get away and relax.  Daniel and I had a great trip, and we are already talking about going back (I need to start buying my lotto tickets now). 

Fiesta American Condesa Cancun

Some of the highlights of our trip…

(I’m five so I did the alphabet 🙂 )

Amazing resort

Beautiful pools

Comfortable room

Delicious food

Enjoying time together

Fruity drinks

Gorgeous beach

Hot sunshine

Ice cream

Jonathan – our favorite person on staff at the resort

King-sized bed

Learning about Mexico

Mango souffle

No alarm clock

Ocean breeze

Picture perfect view

Quiet peaceful mornings

Relaxing massage

Shrimp tacos

Toucans – we got our picture made with one named Touckey

Unbelievable guacamole

Very romantic dinners

Waves crashing

Xylographic artwork

Yummy coconut ice cream

Zany shenanigans (did I mention the police had to run a background check on my at the airport???)

Don’t worry, pictures are being uploaded SOON!

What have you been up to?!?!?!  What are your plans for the weekend?


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