Easter + Passover = A Really Great Weekend

This weekend was Passover and Easter and it was such a nice weekend. It was full of food, friends, family, sunshine and spring-colored outfits. We did a lot of relaxing and spending quality time with people we love, and basically no time being productive. It was lovely.



Passover was at a friend’s house who always host the most delicious and fancy Passover dinner. There’s wine, matzoh ball soup, charoses, yummy veggies and lots of decadent desserts. It was one of those rush around like crazy in the rain kind of days so we forgot to take one single photo. No worries, I made sure to make up for the lack of photos on Easter!

Easter basket! (She was way more excited about the fake Easter grass.)
Easter basket! (She was way more excited about the fake Easter grass.)



We hosted Easter brunch at our house for the second year.  It was a potluck meal with about 16 people and SO MUCH FOOD. I attempted making eggs inside of hashbrown baskets. They were a little overdone, but they looked really nice.



Luna had the time of her life. She skipped her morning nap and ran all over the yard climbing everything in sight instead.

smile fall down eggs climb


We spent the afternoon playing with plastic eggs at the park. We really couldn’t have had a better Easter. Unless, of course, our Texas family were with us.


Hope you all had a great weekend full of nice spring weather, love and mimosas!


Black Friday and Family

Happy Thanksgiving from my little turkey!

Right this second, I am sitting in the backseat of my Mom’s SUV on the way to Houston for our annual Black Friday shopping trip. We’ve already hit up Target and Starbucks and I am SO pumped for a day full of shopping. It’s also Luna’s first experience, and while I’m excited to share this tradition with her, I have to also remind myself of what makes this “holiday”, as well as all the others, meaningful.


While Black Friday is completely materialistic and probably part of the problem with Christmas becoming more and more about stuff, I can’t help but enjoy it. I love the tradition, the time with my Mom, sister, aunt, cousin and husband, the coffee, walking, Christmas music, crowds, list making and Mexican food lunch. Its more about the experience than the stuff, but we get a lot of stuff too. The problem is that Husband and I are hoping to teach Luna to appreciate the holidays for more than the gifts. So, how can I continue my love for Black Friday and also teach Luna to not be too materialistic?


My best idea is to focus on giving. The holidays should be about giving. So each year we will make lists for people we love, and search for gifts to give. We will think about people who need some holiday cheer and shop for them too. If we find a gift we have to have then we will find something we already own to giveaway. We have too much stuff as it is, so I’m more than happy to give much of it away.


When we aren’t giving, we will focus on family. We will take selfies with our Starbucks, eat together, help each other pick out gifts, make lots of memories and sing some Christmas carols off key.

Mmmm first bite of meat!

I know, we will never give up Black Friday or shopping or caring about stuff, but I hope I can at least teach Luna that there’s so much more to the holiday season than the media and retail industry wants us to believe. I’m so thankful I have this little girl here to constantly remind me to be a better person.


What do you think of Black Friday? Yay or nay? How do you shop for the holidags?

Happy Black Friday and Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!



Pumpkin Patch as a Family of Three

gentry farm

I am just returning from a whirlwind of a trip to NYC, and oh my do I have LOTS to share and review! But, first, I’ve got to share our first experience at a pumpkin patch as a family of three. We visited Gentry Farm for the first time last year on the day I found out I was having a girl. I told Husband that visiting Gentry Farm and picking our own pumpkins is going to be an annual tradition for us. One year later, we’re picking out pumpkins with our baby Luna.

white pumpkin

We went to the farm with a couple of our close friends and we all walked around the patch picking out green, white and orange pumpkins and crazy looking gourds. I decided to mix it up this year and get a little bit of everything. I loved walking around and showing Luna all the different colors and sizes. I think we ended up with seven pumpkins to take home. (Don’t worry the pumpkin carving contest will be soon!)

wheel barrow

I love the pumpkin picking, but there is so so so much more to at Gentry Farm. The fun really began after we picked our pumpkins and entered the farm. They had tons of activities for kids of all ages and grown-ups too. The corn maze is always one of my favorite activities, and this year we did the “munchkin maze” too.

corn maze


This was the first year we did the Nature Trail and I was thoroughly impressed. It was gorgeous, had a nice view of the Harpeth River and cute little signs with Tennessee nature facts along the way. It was shaded, a good walk and very enjoyable.

love simply trees water


After the mazes and the trail we had fun playing on the farm. We played horseshoes, talked to chickens, explored the barn, ate snacks, played on little wooden tractors, looked at the sheep and took lots and lots of photos.

chickens tractor teepee

I’m already looking forward to next year. I hope Luna always loves our family tradition at Gentry Farm. The Gentry family is so sweet (you can always find many of them working when you visit) and it’s a family-friendly, fun and education environment. I see enjoying the farm for many many years… and if the weather is a nice next year as it was this year, than I think we will pack a picnic to enjoy near the pumpkin patch.


If you are planning a visit to Gentry Farm, check out their site and keep in mind that they are open Saturdays, Sundays and Monday mornings.



The Annual Beach Photos!

You KNOW that anytime you take a family vacation, you’ve GOT to take a big group family photo. It’s just a rule. Then everyone can share it on Facebook, email to their relatives, frame it until you take next year’s photo and years and years from now your kids will look back on it and say “What were we thinking? Why did you dress me like that? Gross!”. In our family we have the ones who love taking the yearly photo and the ones who despise it, but the lovers always win. Obviously I’m on the “lovers” side. I love photos and a I love family traditions. I look forward to looking back at our previous Hilton Head photos and can’t wait to show Luna the ones from her first year!

family photo

We typically spend one evening taking photos of everyone on the beach. Most of us dress up a little and we pose, jump, act silly and take hundreds of small and large group photos as the sun sets (hello magic hour!). The most important one is the big family photo. Every year we get everyone together for the big group picture. This year may have been the biggest year yet.

new fam

My parents were invited to join us (Husband’s side of the family) for the second time and it was perfect! They got to spend so much time with Luna and experience a lot of her “firsts” We are really really grateful that our parents get along. It makes life a hell of a lot easier. I love Husband’s family soooo much so it means a lot to me that my family has become part of his family too.

My parents and me (2012 vs 2014)
My parents and me (2012 vs 2014)

Clearly we have an issue with taking jumping pictures…I know, it’s so 2012. Whatevs.

All of the cousins and their significant others. Some of the coolest people I know, for sure.
All of the cousins and their significant others. Some of the coolest people I know, for sure.

Husband’s family (my family now) is super close and really good about spending quality time together. There are few families I know who get along with their cousins so well. We spent every single night staying up super late playing Murder, Apples to Apples, Scattagories, gossiping and whatnot. Well, to be honest, Luna and I missed a lot of the quality time… apparently infants need to go to bed much earlier than us big kids.


the ladies
the ladies
Aunt Zoey got some serious quality time with her "Lulu".
Aunt Zoey got some serious quality time with her “Lulu”.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s photos. It’s crazy to think that last year I was ten weeks pregnant and next year Luna will be running around and swimming.



What are some of your family’s summer and vacation traditions?

luna butt


Vacation Mode


Well, I meant to get a whole week of blogs in order before going on vacation, but I didn’t. Woops. We are officially on vacation for a week and I will try to update you on our latest adventures and positively panicked life, but I won’t be back to a regular schedule until next week. If you miss me, you can always check Facebook and Instagram for some adorable beach baby pictures!

20140720090007_IMG_8054 IMG_20140720_214624

So far, Luna has gotten to see her Grandparents (my parents) whom she has not seen in 4 months, her great grandparents whom she has never met and a million other people who love and adore her. There are 20 something people here this week so Luna is getting A LOT of attention. It’s wonderful, Husband and I basically have to do nothing. Talk about a vacation.


In one day Luna has been in the ocean, gone on a bike ride, tried solid food, played in her new pool floatie and floated on a boogie board. I can’t even imagine what the rest of the week has in store.


She insisted on "feeding" herself. Chewing on the spoon was definitely the best part.
She insisted on “feeding” herself. Chewing on the spoon was definitely the best part.

Stay tuned for tips on beach travel with a baby, adventures in road tripping, new reviews and giveaways, postpartum updates and heck of a lot of adorable beach baby photos!

Napping on PawPaw on the balcony with a view of the beach, can life get any better?
Napping on PawPaw on the balcony with a view of the beach, can life get any better?



Annual Friend and Family Photos

Last year, some of my closest friends and I decided to take “Friend Photos”. We rarely have the opportunity for all 4 of us to get together, and often forget to snap a photo during those rare times. Life seems to be flying by for all of us and changing as each week passes, so we want to capture our times together at least once a year. The photos from last year turned out so great that we decided to make this our new annual tradition.

Our sample photo
Our sample photo

I haven’t actually got the nice edited photos yet, but I did get a couple of teaser pics to share from Facebook! ST Photography did our photos, and I CANNOT wait to see how they all turned out! Simone, the photographer, was so patient and so good with the kids! All of our families are growing, which means our photos are going to start getting more complicated and a little more wild each year. It took a couple of hours to get all of our group and family photos done, but I know it will be worth it.

Husband and I took turns snapping a few candid and behind the scenes shots while Simone did the real work.

Telling us how to pose and making sure we look good.
Telling us how to pose and making sure we look good.

with the kids girlfriends closeup

The two baby bumps!
The two baby bumps!

Halfway through our photo session we found a corral and decided it was the perfect place to round-up the kids. “Run around! Pretend to be a horse! Giddy up!” It worked for about two minutes.


One happy mommy
One happy mommy

baby bump

Because friend photos weren’t enough activity for one day, I also took family photos with ST Photography on the same day! It was actually fun to do two photo shoots, and I of course had to do a “costume change” between the two. Here’s a Facebook teaser from the family session.



During this particular photo we had a little, well a big, guest sneak in for a photobomb…

Photobomb shot from the back of the camera!
Photobomb shot from the back of the camera!

The horse was actually trying to pull the sunglasses from my Dad’s back pocket and then decided to get a little taste of each of us. I think he just wanted his 15 minutes of fame.

Of course, we have some more behind the scenes photos from this session too.


We were doing our best to get Micah to smile.
We were doing our best to get Micah to smile.
Daddy/Daughters shot
Daddy/Daughters shot


It won’t be long until I get the fancy professional photos from Simone, can’t wait! Thanks so much for ST Photography for putting up with us for so long and capturing our families during the holidays.

Does your family take annual photos? Have you ever done friend photos? It’s a tradition I’m glad we started. It isn’t easy for all of us to get together, set up a time for photos, dress-up and make it work, but it really is worth it.



Shangri La’s Holiday Stroll

While in Texas we wanted to use our family time to create some new memories and Christmas traditions, so we decorated cookies, watched a light show at a local church, made a bonfire with smores and checked out the local botanical gardens for the very first time. The Shangri La Botanical Gardens has been around for a while, but none of us have ever checked it out. With a little bit of research we learned that not only are they open during the holidays, but they have a special “evening holiday stroll” event right after Christmas.

shangrila holiday strolls

Even at night, the gardens were stunning! We were so impressed with the layout, the landscape, the dozens of Christmas trees, the thousands of lights and the staff was incredible. Everyone was so friendly and helpful, it may for a very cheerful evening.

nativity me


We didn’t get a ton of pictures of all the lights and scenes. I guess we were too busy just looking at them with my friends and my family. We spent a full two hours walking around, drinking hot cocoa and taking group photos. I even ran into a very good childhood friend of mine who happens to work at the gardens! It was an awesome night.

hot cocoa and cookies
hot cocoa and cookies
My sister's family
My sister’s family
So precious!
So precious!
My family
My family

Two more years and we will return with an even bigger crowd!


Black Weekend

It is my family’s tradition to shop on Black Friday every year since I can remember. There is a group of women in my family who, for many many years now, have scoured over the ads after Thanksgiving dinner, made lists, gone to bed early, woke up before the crack of dawn, picked up a yummy fast food breakfast and drove out to the stores as they open for a FULL day of shopping and quality girl time.

I LOVE this tradition, not even for the deals. Don’t get me wrong, the deals are awesome and I feel awesome saving money from store to store…and even more awesome toting my many bags of presenst around, but the real fun is in the details. I hate waking up early, but not on Black Friday. It is same as waking up early on Christmas morning, or the morning of a family vacation. Everyone is full of excitement and wonder.

We bundle up in the car, jam the Christmas music and eat hashbrowns and sausage biscuits in the car. We devise plans, discuss gift ideas and gossip about family news that was revealed at Thanksgiving dinner. We bond over Starbucks, take pics throughout our day and complain about our feet killing us. It simply doesn’t get better.

I LOVE it all, but, and this is a big but…I HATE Black Friday that is actually on Thursday and disguised as Black Friday. I know lots of you shop on Thursday and that’s cool…we all have our own traditions, but I just cannot get into this new trend.

For one…it’s not actually Friday…so please stop calling it that. It’s Thursday, as in Thanksgiving Day, as in most of us are still eating, or recovering from eating. I don’t want to rush through dinner, skip relaxing with the family, miss out on Thanksgiving night movies or “Just Dance” tournaments. Those traditions are precious to me too, and I can’t help but think about the people working who are missing out on their precious moments. I do not like it, so I do not do it, and if I miss out on saving 25% off something cool then so be it. We all have too much stuff anyways.

Also, since being with Husband, Black Friday traditions have changed a bit because we spend every other year with his family. Husband is amazing and will shop with me whenever and wherever I want on the years away from my family. We even call our Texas family and talk about the deals we found, the long lines and how every single store won’t stop playing “Last Christmas, I Gave You My Heart”…it’s a very good every-other-year tradition.

This year is a special case scenario. Neither I nor my sister went home for Thanksgiving…our typical shopping crew was all out-of-wack and it seemed like not one of us were going to continue our very long-standing tradition. Something had to be done. So when my Mom informed me that she was going to Dallas to see my sister for the weekend, I informed her that I would be flying down and joining them. It just isn’t right for all of us to be apart and for no one to do Black Friday.

We couldn’t actually all get to Dallas until Friday night, so we went Black Saturday and Black Sunday shopping instead. We still got up early, ate fast food, listened to Christmas music, shopped all day, complained about walking all day and carrying a million bags and had the best day together. I think it was my greatest idea ever, and I think my Grandma would be happy to see us keeping the tradition of spending an awesome day together alive.

me and sis

So happy to get some Tex Mex!
So happy to get some Tex Mex!


This year we had the added bonus of shopping with my favorite little man, my nephew! He was such a trooper. He shopped ALL day and never threw a fit…which is better than we can say for ourselves.

mom and sis

enjoying "Black Weekend" lunch together
enjoying “Black Weekend” lunch together

I also had my first Black Friday shopping-while-7-months-pregnant experience. So, there was lots of baby clothes shopping and lots of trying on clothes that do not zip-up shopping.

so sweet
so sweet
won't quite fit over my belly
won’t quite fit over my belly

Anyone else have special Christmas shopping traditions?


The Bolt

Our Tennessee family Thanksgiving Day tradition is to run the 5-mile Boulevard Bolt race at the crack of dawn Thanksgiving morning. Husband has been running for a few weeks to prepare for the race and I’ve been mentally preparing while doing yoga and Pilates inside the warm house. I have not run in a very long time and I didn’t think my third trimester was a good time to start it up again. In any case, we were all going to run, walk or jog because it’s tradition.


On Thanksgiving morning it was 16 degrees outside…as in 16 degrees below freezing! We bundled up, wiped the sleep from our eyes and stumbled into the car to meet up with our family. At our Aunt’s house, we were greeted by her many animals, including a very large turkey…


Grandma (who also ALWAYS participates) handed out our shirts and bibs, and after everyone got together (that is the ones who didn’t weenie out because it’s “too cold”), we drove to the Boulevard, and lined up with 9,000 other crazy Tennesseans.

My favorite thing about races are the people who dress up. We had a poor attempt at dressing up (Santa hats and Christmas socks), but some runners went all out. There were all 4 Ninja Turtles, turkeys, a pumpkin pie, a guy in a tux, tons of crazy hats and tutu’s AND Santa with his eight reindeer and Rudolph. Santa and his reindeer were not only in full costume, but ran the entire race in order (Rudolph in the lead, Santa at the rear), while ringing sleigh bells and singing Christmas carols. I don’t know why I didn’t take pictures…guess I was too cold or too sleepy to even consider it an option.


When the race began, Husband and Derek took off with the runners, while the rest of us began walking and inching along with the crowd of slower racers. I cramped up and had to walk most of the beginning, but after a while I warmed up, the cramps went away and we were able to walk/jog the rest of the race. It was such a relief to not feel competitive, but to just enjoy a good workout with thousands of other people before Thanksgiving dinner. We got to cheer on the winners, enjoy the costumes and work up a bit of a sweat.

Husband, who is awesome, ran the 5 miles in 40 minutes! I can’t believe he’s only been running for a few weeks. I wonder if this will encourage him to sign up for a Christmas race? I hope so, because I already have some family costumes in mind…


I, on the other hand, finished in an hour and 15 min. Not exactly Speed Racer, but  better than not racing at all! Maybe next year I’ll actually get to run with Husband.

The race definitely wore me out, but it was so fun and definitely worth it. I can’t say it enough: working out and pregnancy should go hand-in-hand. So future Mama’s, keep moving! Walking is a great exercise for all fitness levels and all trimesters. I just wish I had some pregnant friends in Tennessee to walk with…anyone plan on getting knocked up anytime soon?

Great morning!
Great morning!


Laissez Bons Temps Rouler

I am from Southeast Texas (bordering Louisiana and the Gulf Coast) and my community is made of many many many Catholics and Cajuns. My community is ALL ABOUT Mardi Gras. All weekend I had to see picture after picture after status update on Facebook of all my hometown friends celebrating Mardi Gras. I miss the parades, the beads, the festival, the shows, but most of all, the King Cake.

The best way to describe a traditional New Orleans’s style King Cake is as a giant cinnamon roll, topped with a sugary icing, purple, green and yellow sprinkles, often filled with a delicious filling (hello Bavarian cream!), and complete with a hidden naked baby.

The tradition is the person who finds the baby (symbolic of baby Jesus) gets special privileges for the day, like “king for the day”. I introduced this tradition to Husband the first year we dated, and now we both love participating in the celebration. Neither of us are Catholic… One of us is a little Cajun..

We bought our cake from Silver Moon Bakery (It’s the only bakery in NYC that makes this style King Cake), along with a couple other treats, and walked the 2 miles home. I figure I’d feel less guilty about eating half a cake if I walked home from the bakery.

located on the Upper West Side
located on the Upper West Side


The cake was good, not great. They did not use a filling, but it was still good, and it definitely fixed my craving for a King Cake. Husband found the baby….except it was definitely not a baby. I think he found a shepherd.

king pup bitebaby

Let the good times roll!