Strawberries and Brunch

Strawberries and Brunch

To say the last couple of weeks have been busy is an understatement, but at the same time they've been filled with lots of fun and celebrations. Just a few more days before the big guy makes his way down the chimney! 

I was asked to attend an event at Atwood Family Farm to kick off their strawberry picking season. We told Lil' Miss she'd be picking strawberries, and that there'd be a playground so she was excited. We were greeted with fresh strawberry lemonade and strawberry shortcake upon arrival, and then the fun began. 

I was surprised to bump into Alyssa (Bates) Webster, and her family. She's one of the 19 kids from the show Bringing Up Bates, but lives here in Central Florida. She was super sweet, and we chatted for a bit before taking a picture. I knew my mom would be excited to see that I met her, as she's the one who got me into watching their show. 

Then it was time to explore the sunflower fields and pick our own strawberries. It was a beautiful sunny day, and abnormally warm for this time of year so Lil' Miss donned rosy cheeks and even got a little sweaty after all the running around. 

Then on Sunday it was time to celebrate Emily's birthday with the girls. I still miss her here in blog-land, and hope she'll make an appearance again soon. We enjoyed the new brunch menu at Chroma where the cocktails are almost too pretty to drink, and the french toast comes out piping hot and ready to slice open where strawberry cream and fresh strawberries fall out. YUM!

I re-styled this floral top for the girls brunch with a skirt and peep toe ankle booties after wearing it for date night with boyfriend jeans and my favorite statement heels. Always shopping my closet! 

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Festive Fun

Festive Fun

We have been partaking in all the holiday fun! From festive beverages to going to see all the Christmas lights to a sleigh ride down the river, we're taking it all in before this fun season is over in the blink of an eye. 

I was excited to receive a fun and festive package from Van Gogh Vodka. They sent me their holiday dessert pack, and they are DELISH! I shook things up (quite literally) in an Instagram Reel last week. I'm not sure if it was more fun making the Reel or enjoying the fruits of my labor. 

There's something extra magical about that morning cup of coffee when it's enjoyed in front of the tree isn't it? I found the cutest mug for only $5, and it's been on repeat each morning. 

We took Lil' Miss to Wekiva Island for a sleigh ride down the river, and were surprised by not just Santa but Mrs. Claus too. We love going there in the warmer months for floating and swimming, but had never been there for Christmas and now it's definitely going to be an annual tradition. They have a field of decorated trees, and the whole place is decked out and festive. Nevermind the Santa sightings and Florida-style sleigh rides. 

An adult slushie for the sleigh ride, and a little of my new lipstick showed itself on the paper straw. Last time I brought back 6 empties to MAC, I asked everyone which lip shade I should pick out for my reward and the 2 shades that were the most popular responses were Creme Cup and Twig. I ended up going with Creme Cup, but finally picked up Twig and am LOVING it. Such a great shade especially for this time of year. 

Afterwards, we went out for pizza at a favorite local spot before walking around Cranes Roost Park to see their Christmas lights. 

One last festive find - we discovered a local coffee shop called NewCity Coffee Co. was making holiday coffee flights. Yes please! They were delish, and I was surprised that the maple bacon flavor was my favorite one. I expected to be all about the White Christmas or Gingerbread Cookie. 

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Tickets for Rio de Janeiro to Dubai

Tickets for Rio de Janeiro to Dubai

I can't believe it's already been a few weeks since I returned from my second whirlwind back to back work trip of the season. In just a little over 2 months I went to Las Vegas, Venice, Panama City, Rio de Janeiro and Dubai - 4 continents in 2 months. Woof. 

Social media may make it look glamorous because isn't globe trotting fun?! But what you don't see are the tears streaming down my face on the way to the airport because I just left my little girl, the anxiety that I'll test positive for the virus that shall not be named and not be able to come home for 2+ weeks, the overnight long flights where I can never seem to get sleep, or the super long (and stressful) days because helloooo I am there for work after all. That's the real side of the past few months. I'm blessed beyond words for these opportunities, and above all I LOVE what I do which is truly the greatest gift. 

I was fortunate to return to Brazil for work after going there in 2019 to cover an event. (full recap from when I had more time to site-see in Rio during that trip can be found here). Rio is always my favorite stop on our EXPO world tour because they bring the energy like no where else inside the arena. Plus, I love walking around knowing it's the same arena where my girl Simone Biles made history at the 2016 Olympic games. 

*Posing in the new product experience area*

I was excited to see the Christ the Redeemer statue from the airport before setting off on a long journey. We took a quick flight from Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo before boarding a 14 hour flight to Dubai. Last time I was in Brazil, it rained the entire time. Even though I took the train up the mountain to see the statue, we were literally in the clouds and couldn't see much below. So this was a nice surprise even if from afar. 

The big event season was over, but a few of us headed to Dubai to cover an incentive trip. It was my first time covering one, and I was amazed at the first class experience they provide to the lucky qualifiers. I kept pinching myself that I was in fact in Dubai, staying at the tallest 5 star resort in the world and visiting landmarks I had only ever dreamed of seeing in person. 

I arrived utterly exhausted after working a busy event and traveling so far, but was in awe of the beautiful room at the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel complete with a view of the Burj Khalifa - talk about surreal. We arrived at night, so it was easy to crash and get on their time as quickly as possible. I hit a wall the next afternoon, but other than that wasn't too affected by the time change. Due to daylight savings happening here while I was away we were 9 hours ahead of back home. 

The beautiful hotel pool which I enjoyed on our last night. I swam a few laps to soothe achy muscles, and enjoyed the epic skyline one last time. It almost doesn't look real!

My first full day comprised of meetings, and then the welcome dinner outside under the stars. Again with incredible views of the skyline. I also made sure to stay conscious of the modesty standards there. Unless I was at the resort pool or at the beach club (later in the trip) I kept my shoulders and knees covered. 

The next day was spent discovering "the land". The whole trip was a theme of land, sand and sea. We went to the Dubai Mall and up to the top of the Burj Khalifa. 

We then made our way to the brand new AIN Wheel which is 820 ft. tall (nearly double the height of the London Eye) making it the world's largest. The views were of course incredible, and it was another surreal experience.

We then headed to what felt like next door to the Address Beach Resort for another dinner under the stars complete with a beautiful view of the AIN Wheel we were just on. 

I took this photo sitting down at the table during dinner. I did my best to keep taking everything in, because it seriously did not look real. So impressive!

The next day we were treated to more views of the AIN Wheel and the Address Beach Resort with a day at Zero Gravity Beach Club. It was fun to run around and collect everyone's experiences and their first impressions of the trip. Being able to take a dip in the Persian Gulf - PRICELESS. 

That evening the staff was invited to dinner at a Lebanese restaurant. It was DELISH! I think I took not just seconds, but thirds of almost everything!

The last full day was exploring Old Dubai on land before heading to the sand for a farewell dinner in the dessert. 

Still can't believe the sunsets there - absolutely incredible! Photos of course don't do it justice, but I couldn't not snap a few to remember them by. 

*I made a new friend in one of the adorable camels*

*Obligatory staff jumping in the desert in front of the sunset photo*

Because we flew Emirates, we had free tickets to check out the Dubai EXPO which reminded me of a Worlds Fair. The exhibits were incredible, and it was definitely a once in a lifetime experience. 

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