Thursday, January 18, 2018

Nashville + Beautycounter

This past weekend I spend a quick 48 hours in Nashville with some amazing women! 

Most of our crew flew in early Friday morning so we had the day to play! We decided to head to the Ryman Auditorium before grabbing some lunch. Although I was here two years ago with friends, this time we did the backstage tour and it was well worth the extra $. I loved touring the dressing rooms and learning all about the history of the Ryman. 

When we finished with our tour we headed over to Merchants
Duck Fat Tater Tots. check
Baked Pimento Cheese. check
BBQ Pulled Pork. yes, please. 
Wow. If you know me you are probably wondering WTH. Yeah, something about this city brought out the country in me. I was all about this southern food. Apparently the cold weather makes me want to fatten up! lol. 

After lunch we headed over to Tootsies for some live music!
I had so much fun with these ladies and am so grateful to be working alongside them! 
And back to the hotel by 4pm to get ready for the Welcome Happy Hour. 


Saturday was all about Beautycounter. It was a day filled with inspiring women and insightful training. I learned so much...and have so many notes to go over. This is just what I needed to get myself back into the groove. 

Our (Kristin's) team headed to The Gulch for dinner at The 404 Kitchen. My limited review:
- our waiter was a little quirky - everything had to be done on his time. Like when we tried to order some apps with our cocktails...oh no no. He was not a fan of that.
- We started with three apps. The Scallop toast, burrata & cornbread.  Everything was good. But OMG. The scallop toast was TDF. Everyone agreed. So yummy. I could have just eaten that for was ah-mazing. 
- I had the New York Strip (again with the man food) and it was really good...but I could hardly put a dent in it. My eyes were clearly much larger than my belly. 
- We were in a private-ish room, but with two other large groups. Holy guacamole those other tables were SO LOUD.  It was entertaining but also slightly annoying at some points. I realize this makes me sound old and boring. 

My weekend was pretty wonderful. Hanging with friends & coworkers, in a fun city filled with awesome music, kind people, delicious food, rich history, and all because of a job that inspires me.  400 women supporting, training and working with on another. It's pretty amazing.

I love all the ladies that I spent the weekend with, but sure would love to see more of my friends here with me next time!

Big things coming for Beautycounter and I cannot wait to share! 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Disney World - Day Four

We were up earlier than previous morning. Hayden was up and in an amazing mood. She was crazy hyper and super sweet. And ready to go go go. She ran over to the window and was telling everyone it was time to get up because the sun was out. Surprisingly I was about to get us all packed up and out the door by 9am.  Yes, Kevin was with us but let's be honest. All he has to pack is himself. Anyhow, we headed downstairs to the Contempo Cafe to grab some breakfast before heading out.

We decided on grabbing a Lyft to take us out to the Animal Kingdom assuming it would only take about 20 minutes. It was more like an hour. The driver said that the traffic and congestion was I guess this sunshine brought everyone out. It was insanely crowded...starting with traffic to get in the park to actually getting in the park. Once we were in we high-tailed it to the Safari because our fast pass was about to end.

The safari was a lot of fun and the kids enjoyed seeing all of the animals. The original plan was to get to the Safari ride early so we would have time to get to the Festival of the Lion King and use our fast pass there....but that didn't quite happen. We weren't really sure what to do...wait for the next show (they let us use our fast pass for that one) or walk around. When we realized that the next show as at noon and it was only 11:10....we opted to leave. We maneuvered our way back up to the Africa area, stopped to get some coffee and donuts then over to Asia. And stopped for some pics!

 The Everest rollercoaster looked awesome but the killer wait times and the fact that our kids were too little made it an easy decision not to mess with it. Obviously we didn't do the Flight of Avatar either. Clearly there will be a next time....

We headed to our last fast pass at 11:50am, which was a meet and greet with Mickey and Minnie. They were super cute and the kids enjoyed them so that was a success.

 After that we moseyed our way back to the entrance and hopped on a bus to the Magic Kingdom. Once again, lines were insane. As we walked down Main Street we caught the castle show before heading towards Frontier Land.

As we were walking to lunch we saw a crown of people, so we stopped to see what was going on. It was a cute little muppets show, so we hung out there for a little bit before lunch at the Liberty Tree Tavern.

My review:
- You definitely feel like you are stepping back in time when you walk in the front door. You are greeted by Waiters/waitresses dressed in colonial clothing and the decor is very 18th century Willamburg-esque. Each dining room decor is inspired by a different founding father....
- The hostesses town-criers announce your family and where you are from - "Here ye, here ye, we would now like to seat the McDonough family from the Republic of Texas"
- The food - well, it's traditional Thanksgiving food & a little New England mixed together. A little odd and honestly if the weather had been hot (like typical Florida weather) it is the last kind of food I would be interested in...but apparently...people love it. I suppose that people that love Thanksgiving food do. SO there is that.

Kevin got the clam chowder and a salad. I got Fish and Chips. Yup - they tried to bring me the salad.  Ryan ordered and gobbled up the roasted turkey kids meal while Grayson and Hayden split a cheeseburger. We couldn't have timed our meal any better because as soon as we were done the Festival of Fantasy was just starting. And we were on the parade route. It was perfect! I did have to hold Grayson up, but it was worth it. We loved this parade so much!

The crowd after the parade was insane. You literally couldn't move anywhere...and Kevin couldn't remember where he parked the stroller. I am sure you can imagine how fun that was. Anyhow, we ended up getting split up but survived and made it to the circus area for our last ride of the trip. II really wish I would have done the Barnyard rollercoaster - I think the kiddos could have handled that. They were excited about Dumbo, so you can imagine the thrill level we are dealing with. Grayson needed a bathroom break so we stumbled into the Big Top Souvenir shop and OMG - my favorite Disney shop EVER. They had souvenirs, but also all these adorable treats and snacks! Carmel apples, cotton candy, cake pops, marshmallow pops and more....and they were all shaped like Mickey Mouse of course! Since we still had snacks and a couple of quick service meals left on our dining plan I stocked up on these fun treats!

Hayden picked out cotton candy for her and her brothers. She was so excited to give them theirs!

Hanging out waiting for Grayson....

I rode with Ryan and Kevin got these two cuties!

After Dumbo we had to say goodbye to the Magic Kingdom. There were no tantrums...I think it was the perfect amount of time for our first trip. We didn't over do it. The kids were happy. We were happy. We walked back to the hotel and got our bags from the bell service. We waited for the Magic Express bus to take us to the airport. And once we boarded, this happened....

It took about an hour to get to the airport, and then another hour to get though security. Ugh, it was a disaster. Anyhow, once we got though we had time to grab some dinner and board our flight. We boarded our flight to Dallas and it was easy sailing...Ryan and Hayden fell asleep pretty quickly and Grayson fell asleep as we were landing...oh well. We got home around midnight and everyone slept amazing in their own beds...including myself!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Disney World - Day One

So at 4:45am on New Years Day we headed to the airport. 

Both Kevin and I were a tad over-confident with the fact that we were leaving from Love Field. We were debating on leaving the house around 4:40 or know, cause we are so close and it is soooooo convenient. Well, we are dumb because it is the holidays. And the weather was crazy. 
We got a fresh slap in the face when we arrived and saw massive lines for check-in. And then security. Holy guacamole.

We really didn't think we were going to make it. But we did...just in time to board the plane. We thought we would be able to grab breakfast but that didn't happen. So we had peanuts and pretzels. The flight was uneventful and we arrived in Orlando at 9:45am. 

We grabbed some food to eat on the way and went to pick up our luggage. (Disney's Magical Express will get your luggage for you BUT I really didn't want to deal with any lost luggage) Anyhow, the baggage claim and Disney's Magical Express area couldn't have been any further away from each other. So that was super fun. By the time we got to the check in I was a sweaty mess.

However, once we got there the entire process was easy peasy. Kudos to Heidi (our Disney vacation planner) at Trips to the Mouse and Walt Disney World itself. They know what they are doing. We swiped our wrist bands to activate and were ushered to a bus that would take us to our hotel in no time.

On the ride over I was trying to check in to the hotel via the app but it wasn't working when we arrived I have to physically check in. No biggie. Our room wasn't ready, since it was only 11am, so we changed the kids out of their PJs and headed to Epcot for the afternoon.

So Kevin and I have totally different packing personalities. And packing for this trip I think Kevin totally took on the Michele packing mantra. We brought three different jackets for EACH kid. That's NINE jackets!!! Yes. You are welcome for that math. And that doesn't even include all the other crap I packed. Anyhow, I would just like to say that thank goodness because we needed them! This weather is cray cray.

So here was the Epcot Plan:
Test Track Fast Pass 2:45
Spaceship Earth Fast Pass 3:45
Turtle Talk with Crush Fast Pass 4:50

And the actual execution went like this:
When we arrived I checked the Disney app and saw that the Nemo & Friends ride was only 20 minute wait, so we headed over there to check that out before our first fast pass ride. 

The Seas with Nemo & Friends: Cute little kid-friendly ride where you are invited to join Marlin and Dory on an adventure to find Nemo.
You "board a "clamobile" and descend below the waves into a "Big Blue World" where Nemo and his friends flit though brightly colored coarl reeds and gently swaying sea anemones. Swim with Mr. Ray and his school and see ultra-cool, ultravoilet "jellies".  Dodge underwater mines, a toothy angler fish and even toothier Bruce the shark as he lurks in the rusted hull of a sunken ship. Then catch a ride on the EAC with sea turtle Crush and his little dude Squirt. "
After the ride we hung around the The Seas with Nemo and Friends Pavilion and checked out the aquarium.  
The kids LOVED the aquarium - perhaps I should take them to the Dallas one again. Anyhow, we stumbled upon Turtle Talk with Crush and hopped in the standby line since it was only 20 minutes, but after a couple of minutes we realized how hungry we were and headed out to hit up the World Showcase for some snacks. 

Heidi at Trips to the Mouse had some amazing recommendations for us but unfortunately the weather was cold and rainy so we didn't make it very far around the world. In fact, we only made it to the United Kingdom (it's the second country).  We grabbed some Fish & Chips and ate outside under a table with an umbrella.  It was still pretty miserable so we decided to can the walk and head back to Future World to hit our first Fast Pass. We still had some time so we grabbed a croissant donut & some hot chocolate in Canada on the way. 

When we arrived at Test Track we realized it was closed because of the rain. They told us we could use our fast pass on anything (there were two exceptions, one was meet & greet with Ana and Elsa and I can't remember the other). So we decided to hit Spaceship earth and then call it a day. The boys were super excited for Spaceship Earth - the second we arrived at Epcot Ryan was asking if we could go in the big ball. The stand by line for this ride was over an hour, so it was nice to have a fast pass. We really didn't wait very long but somehow Hayden managed to fall asleep in Kevin's arms.
She was so tired - 4:30am wake up will do that to ya!

When you get on the ride you select the language for your journey. I am pretty sure Ryan accidentally selected Spanish and Kevin had no idea what was happening. Half-way through the ride he had his phone flashlight out checking the side of the ride to see if there were a Spanish on/off button. He was so confused. And I was giggling. It was great. And typical.
(Side note: I remember this ride from when I was little - and it hasn't changed. I mean, not that I remember the entire thing but it still ends with the invention of the computer. Ha! Things have come a long way since then. They did add a little interactive quiz and story at the end but that was the only new thing.)
 Anyhow, the kids were happy, so we were happy.

Although we really didn't do that much we were tired, wet and cold so we decided to head back to the hotel to rest before our Pirate Desert Show later that evening.  

We had dinner at Contempo cafe then headed back to the room for a hot second to get uber bundled up for our boat ride. During our room visit Hayden fell asleep on the bed. Since we are selfish awesome parents, we grabbed her and headed down to the pirate dessert fireworks show that we had on the ol' schedule.  Heidi had told us that the first part of the event was inside (and since it was at our hotel) we figured we could make a game-time decision on the whole boat situation. 

So many cream, cotton candy, popsicles, chocolate....oh my!
When we check in the informed us that the boat portion was cancelled because of the weather. Not only that, but they would still have the desert, characters and show....AND they were giving everyone a full reimbursement. Well hot-diggity-dog. This evening couldn't have been more perfect. The kids were exhausted and it was FREEZING outside, so we were totally ok with the whole boat situation. 
Patch and Patch (the pirate hosts) came out and started the show. They were super fun and the kids loved them.

We had desserts and then Captain Hook and Smee showed up for pictures and storytelling. They did some trivia and actually Ryan raised his hand and answered a question correctly! He won a pirate hook! He was very proud - and so were Kevin and I - we didn't know the answer! lol! After a while Peter Pan made an appearance...and then everyone was invited to go watch fireworks from the 4th floor bar area. However since we had an amazing view from our room...we hightailed it upstairs and watched from our room.
Hayden LOVED the characters. I thought she might be scared but she was all about them - hugs were even given! A Hayden hug doesn't come easily!

 And that is her current smile that we get....
 She is saying cheese...and probably "stop it mommy"
 They loved getting everyone's autograph!

I'm not saying this was the most successful first day at Disney, but we felt like we had a pretty darn good day. The show and character greeting at the end of the day really got them excited and we ended the day on a high. The kids loved it and are ready to wake up and do it again!

Happy New Year

Happy 2018!

I hope everyone had a wonderful NYE and great start to 2018! We had an incredibly low-key NYE this year involving a toast at about 7pm....

some packing.
And Kevin's favorite....crafting with my silhouette. ha!

We went to bed at 11....but I was still awake to hear the LCC fireworks at midnight. And I am pretty sure I didn't get much sleep between then and 4am when I got up to get us ready for our flight. How about that pity party I just threw for myself? ok. moving on.

We are headed to DISNEY! 

We packed up the car and started it...since it was FREEZING....and then went to get the kiddos. I woke Ryan up first -  he wakes up so quickly and bit frantically. He literally jumps out of bed and is in full speed but doesn't really know what is happening. Grayson is more of a slow riser and Hayden has to be carried once they were all downstairs and half awake we decided to tell them what was happening.

They were excited. And tired. Fair enough.
Disney Trip is first up on my blog list :)


So with the New Year always comes a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Michele.  I love a fresh start. And I love setting goals. I have so many things I want to accomplish this year and of course I will share it on my blog - it keeps me accountable. The first of many things is to actually KEEP blogging! Stay tuned for more :) 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Santa 2018

We finally made it to see Santa this year - only FIVE days before Christmas! Cutting it a little close...

Thankfully I had some help! My parents kept the kids happy while we all waited in line. 

Ryan asked Santa for Cozmo & a Wild Thing Power Wheel (which was the first time I had heard of this request).

Grayson asked Santa for a Cozmo & the Hot wheels Ultimate Garage

Hayden asked for My Little Ponies and a Bike

Sweet little kiddos! All smiles this year! Hayden was still a little unsure of him but she followed her brothers leads and went with it. She even talked to him - although I am pretty sure Santa couldn't understand what she said. He seems to be pretty well trained in talking with kiddos! 
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