Florida Keys Trip and Much Needed Catch Up

Remember me? It's been over a month since I last blogged, and it's time to catch up! Lots going on - another back to back work trip this time to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Dubai, U.A.E., a family trip to the Keys, Thanksgiving fun, now all the Christmas fun, a birthday celebration for a dear friend and of course super busy at work. 

I'll be re-capping Rio and Dubai later this week, because right now I want to catch up on the goings on here at home sweet home. Stay tuned! 

Less than a week after I returned from Dubai, we left on a much needed family trip. We were originally going to Cancun, and were excited about the villa we had rented with ocean views. Well we ended up canceling 4 days before we were scheduled to leave due to the recent cartel shootings that have taken place at Cancun resorts. The thought of a boat pulling up while we are relaxing on the beach or the pool, and gang members opening fire was enough to change our plans to say the least. 

Thankfully, Expedia graciously refunded us for the resort and we have vouchers with JetBlue that we will use for a future trip. And honestly, I've had enough swabs up my nose with all the international travel that I was easily persuaded to stay state-side. We decided to return to the Keys as we had last year the week of Thanksgiving, this time choosing a resort in Duck Key (just past Islamorada) called Hawks Cay Resort

Sarong Cover-Up {only $20}

* A famous rum runner from the Tiki Bar at the Postcard Inn is a must in the Keys*

*Her unicorn suitcase is still one of my favorite purchases EVER*

We stopped at Lorelei's in Islamorada for a relaxed brunch on the water before heading home. Lil' Miss surprised me by not wanting waffles or the chocolate chip pancakes on the kids menu, and instead chose yogurt with fruit and granola. I did not have the same willpower, and ordered an omelette and a mimosa. And then realized I hadn't had a slice of key lime pie on our trip, so ordered a key lime pie colada as a farewell to vacay. Worth every delicious calorie! 

Other goings on - Lil' Miss was adorable helping in the kitchen to prepare for Thanksgiving and even brought her own "sous chef". She helped make the candied yams and the pumpkin cheesecake, and they both came out delish!

I was reunited with a few of my favs to celebrate a birthday of one of our nearest and dearest. I got super emotional hugging them all, because it had been too long since I had seen them for my birthday in August. I'm honored to have such amazing girlfriends in my life, and can easily say none of us have ever fought in the 12-ish years I've known them and are fiercely loyal to one another. I believe it's because we just have fun together without gossiping (which is not good for your soul or for the people you're discussing behind their backs), and are always there to lift each other up. The true pillars of friendship. 

I also took Lil' Miss out for a mommy and me breakfast date which we both needed after how much I've been away. She even asked me to sit next to her in the booth without anyone on the other side of the table. Heart melted.

We took her to a Christmas tree lighting that was complete with fun activities, food trucks and live music. Oh and real reindeer that Lil' Miss called "real Svens". A spin on the hamster wheel to make her own snow cone was probably the highlight of the evening. 

And Sprinkles has returned to our home complete with a North Pole Breakfast. I skipped the powdered donuts this year, and instead of Santa pancakes I turned a waffle into Santa. For only $10 - I'm super impressed with this gingerbread man waffle maker. The waffles come out perfectly with a 1/4 cup scoop of batter, and they do not stick. I repeat they do not stick! 

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Hello November. Fall is going by WAY too fast, do you agree? In-between work trips, I've been trying to squeeze in as much fall fun as possible with my little fam baking treats, going to the pumpkin patch and of course carving our annual jack-o-lantern. My original plan for the pumpkin patch was to wear my new twist sweater which is seriously the coziest piece ever. Living in Florida, we may have a cooler day where the sun is behind the clouds, and can actually wear something like this to the pumpkin patch. Well that didn't happen - ha! I rocked a tank top and shorts, and kept the sweater in the car to hop out and take a few quick pictures in before heading home. 

Besides being ridiculously soft and cozy, it also has fun twisted detailing which is reversible. You can choose to wear the twist in the front or in the back. And it comes in 4 colors - pink, cream, green and blue. I surprisingly went with the pink since I already have so many blues and creams in my wardrobe. Always fun to add an unexpected pop of color! 

Twist Sweater  - comes in 4 colors {40% off} | Lace Bralette in Charcoal | Sneakers | Bag in Deep Marine | Sunglasses | Pearl Barrette

We had a surprise cooldown over the weekend, so I pulled the sweater back out and re-styled it for a quick date night while Lil' Miss went to a costume and pizza party at her gymnastics gym. Dinner and drinks for us - Halloween fun + pizza + bounce house for her. Perfection! 

Ankle Boots | SkirtBelle Costume | Ring | Lipstick in Crème Cup | Necklace

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Homecoming and a Disney Birthday

I'm in the middle of a whirlwind travel season at work (recapped Venice and Panama City here), but am fortunate to be home for a few weeks which also included a very special little girl's fifth birthday. How is my sweet girl FIVE?! 

My husband and I squeezed in a quick day date, we celebrated Lil' Miss's birthday at Disney World since we decided to skip a party again this year due to not knowing how many people would be comfortable with attending, and also squeezed in as much fall fun as we could.

OTS Top {50% off} | Shorts {20% off} | Lipstick in Creme Cup

*She decided on a candy apple to take home instead of a birthday cupcake*

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Tickets for Venice to Panama

I am BACK baby! It was a whirlwind two weeks traveling for work events where I flew to Venice, Italy then straight to Panama. Pure exhaustion and man did I miss my little family, so it feels amazing to be home. In Italy I ate all the food and in Panama I truly took in the beauty outside my balcony each morning over a cup of coffee. 

As far as travel restrictions, I found them to be very similar to when we went on vacation to the Bahamas in the spring. You need to fill out a form online per country, and provide a negative PCR test on top of proof of vaccination. If you are not vaccinated, you are required to quarantine for 3 days upon arrival. The restrictions for Italy and Panama were what I expected, and not hard to follow. Just make sure if you plan on traveling internationally right now that you have screen shots and print outs of everything. A hard copy is preferable to a lot of the airline and customs agents. 

Let me just preface this by saying, when I get a chance to go out and explore I try and experience (and eat!) alllll the things. Especially when in Italy. This was my second work trip to Italy (two years ago we went to Milan - full recap can be found here), and the highlight of both of those trips was the food. Everything is absolutely incredible, and even the prosecco tastes better there. 

A few of us that traveled to both countries as we were about to say goodbye to the U.S. for a few weeks. Oh we were also saying goodbye to sleep - ha!

*Descending into Venice as the sun rose*

Prosecco for 3 Euros? Yes please! 

*First of many pasta dishes of the trip*

I'll just let the photos speak for themselves, it was surreal to take in. It almost didn't look real, definitely a pinch me moment. It was quite chilly especially with the wind by the water which made packing for 2 weeks in 2 different climates tricky. I checked a big suitcase for the first time in several years. 

I've seen the replicas of St. Mark's Campanile Tower at EPCOT and at The Venetian Resort in Las Vegas, but seeing the real deal in person was magical. 

*We arrived by boat on the Venice Canal for the Star Gala*

Dress in Surf the Web {only $45} | Heels 

*Gelato is a must*

*So is tiramisu*

After closing out and celebrating the event in Italy, we had dinner then needed to meet back in the lobby at 3:15 am to leave for the airport. I tried to take "a nap" after packing, but barely dozed off before it was time to head out. A 6 hour layover in Amsterdam was a tease, because it was long enough to want to go explore the city but not long enough to be able to. An 11 hour flight to Panama from Amsterdam, and we arrived at the hotel about 7:30 p.m. Panama time but it felt like 2:30 a.m. coming from Italy. After almost 24 hours of travel - I literally sunk into my bed in Panama following a super hot shower, FaceTiming with my little fam and room service for dinner. 

The view from my balcony where I enjoyed morning coffee and working on my laptop. The best part was watching the ships in the distance lining up to cross the Panama Canal. I also loved listening to the waves each night while falling asleep. 

The resort was beautiful, and after sleeping in the first morning I walked around to collect content (I'm on these trips to cover them on social media), worked from my phone by the pool and enjoyed a much needed dip before working from my room the rest of the day. Sadly, I never read my book. 

Only ventured into downtown Panama City one evening for dinner with some co-workers for a yummy dinner. The best part? The skyline of the city is incredible! 

Now when I say I like to shop my closet, I mean it! I laughed at my mom when she brought my prom dress from sophomore year down with her buried in some bins from her house. Yet, here I am - wearing it to a gala in Panama. It felt so weird yet so amazing to wear something from that long ago, and nice to know I got more than one use out of it. 

And that's a wrap! Two weeks away for work, two countries, two continents, multiple PCR and antigen tests and one AMAZING reunion with my little family. 

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