Thursday, July 23, 2015

Touring Washington D.C. with a Toddler

As I have mentioned this has been the summer of weddings for our family. In June I was a bridesmaid and our little guy was the ring bearer in my cousin's wedding in Virginia. My husband had never been to D.C. (well apparently he did go as a young child but didn't remember the trip) so we took the opportunity to visit the city after the wedding. Just for fun here is a picture of my brother, hubby, and son before the rehearsal dinner and then another of E and my hubs before the wedding. And yes ladies, my brother IS single...any takers?

O.k. back to the DC portion of the trip. We stayed at the brand new Hampton Inn at the White House (literally it was one block from the White House). It was a little pricey but  an awesome location and the hotel staff were GREAT. Both our almost 12 month old and myself ended up being sick the entire trip which made it a little difficult but we still packed it full and had a blast non-the-less. In case you are looking in to traveling to D.C. with a little one I thought I would share some of the highlights from our trip. 

Tip #1: Bring a good stroller. Seriously you will do a ton of walking. The more space your stroller has for storage underneath the better. However, don't under estimate the metro. It really very affordable and TOTALLY worth it if you need to save time or beat the heat. 

Most of our first day was spent driving from Alexandria, VA to D.C. and returning our rental car, getting checked in to the hotel, etc. but we did manage to get in a good walking tour of the city the first evening. We started out at the White House and walked down the mall to Washington Monument. It was hot, hot, hot people and a lot of walking but still really a great way to see the city. Of course we had to get a family selfie in front of the monument, excuse the sweat.

Day #2 we started off with the National History Museum which is always great and really fun for kids. Our little loved seeing the animals the most while J and I had a blast checking out what we would have looked like a century ago.

(totally scary right)
We then headed to the National Museum of Crime and Punishment. This is one of the few museums in Washington that is not free as it is a private museum but I would still highly recommend it. We found a Groupon for it so check it out when you go to see if there are any online deals before you go. There was lots of neat things to see and even some displays I had to close my eyes was pretty intense. It was particularly neat to see the car that Bonnie and Clyde were killed in and to test drive a police car through a simulator. You also got to shoot up a criminal. So. Fun.

After that we went on a walking tour ALL over the city. We walked to the Capital. Then went through the Space and Aviation Museum (also wonderful but it was packed and we were exhausted so I failed to get any pictures). We then walked through the Botanical Gardens and made our way down to the Vietnam Memorial, followed by the WWII memorial and we were head to the Lincoln Memorial when it started to DOWN POUR. I'm talking straight up flood gates opened up. Which honestly was sort of a welcome break after the extreme heat but I pretty sure at least two people thought about reporting us to child services as we rung out our babies clothing it was so soaked. We decided to take shelter on the Lincoln Memorial. Here is our wet dog look. Hey, we made a memory right?

We then headed up to Georgetown and finished the evening out with dinner at Whole Foods in the college town. I can honestly say I don't think I have ever been so exhausted in my entire life.

Tip #2: Bring sunscreen and plenty of water bottles. Water is expensive to buy at the museums but you can bring in your own along with snacks. I highly recommend doing so as we all know when a child is hungry you need something to pop in their mouth asap and their is not always food nearby at the museums. 

Day #3 we had an afternoon flight so we got up early and headed to the Holocaust Museum which is absolutely spectacular under normal conditions. However, we had a very fussy, sick and miserable baby and the museum was packed with a large group of Holocaust survivor. The tour guide asked us to please remain silent throughout the museum out of respect to the survivors and we were ushered on to an elevator with no turning back. That is when our baby decided it would be a great time to start shrieking. We tried to exit the museum as quickly as possible but it was SO packed we felt like we were being guided into the gas chambers ourselves as we shuffled along like a cow in the crowds. This museum does have an awesome mini exhibit designed for kids (noise is o.k. here) that takes you through the life of a Jewish boy. It is very kid friendly and everything can be touched and climbed on.

We then grabbed an Uber (first ever ride and it was AWESOME-what a cool service) and headed to the airport to catch our flight home. All in all it was a fantastic, exhausting trip and I am glad we did it sick and all! 

Next family trip....? One more wedding in Athens and then in September we finally get to take our family beach trip. I'm counting down the days.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Where is your happy place? *Link Party*

We all have that one place...the place where you envision yourself when something bad or painful is happening (like labor). You know...mind displacement...the place that brings you total peace and serenity. Today I thought it would be fun to show you mine and create a link party where would could all display and show off our happy places. Maybe yours is on the beach or in the mountains or maybe it is in a big comfy chair in your living room...I would love to see 'your place.' And don't pretend you don't have one...if you are a mommy than there was something or somewhere you pictured as you fought to bring your precious child in to the world. Feel free to read about mine below (picture above) and show off yours to the blogging world!

My happy place is Lake Burton which is a little bit of paradise nestled right in the North Georgia mountains. I have had the privilege of growing up at Lake Burton (seriously I was two weeks old my first visit) my entire life. My family owns a lake house that has been in our family since my mom was high school. I have so many wonderful memories at this house and have spent so many of my spring and summers there that it honestly feels even more like home than home. 

Tragically we lost both our home and boat house (both of which had been built by my now deceased grandfather and my dad when he was dating my mom) back in 2011 in a tornado that come through the area. But we have spent the last four years re-building and we finally have both a home and a boat house to stay and play at again. You can see a previous post of images from our re-build here

I brought my son to the lake house for the first time when he was only 8 days old. At 9 days old he had his first boat ride. At 10 days old we put his feet in the water for the first time. O.k. so maybe I'm crazy...don't believe me? Here is a photo.

For me this place is totally my happy place. It does not matter if it is raining or a beautiful sunny day. All I need to do is sit out on our patio or picture myself floating on the floating dock and I have achieved my goal of total mind displacement. 

O.k. it's time, link up below and tell us about your happy place.  And just for giggles here is a photo of our little for the first time in his life vest. I'm not sure if it is hilarious or just sad. He was SO tiny! 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Product Review: Kidecals

Today I wanted to share with you all a product I was sent to try out by Kidecals. This company makes name labels that stick to any surface. All of their products are waterproof which means they are dishwasher, washing machine,  AND dryer safe! They really have a super neat product.

Yes I do realize we have quite the assortment of sippy cups. What can I say. We like some variety in our life. Ha. 

I ordered monogram stickers for my little guy to stick on all his sippy cups that go back and forth to friend's houses, church, daycare, etc. They are great for sippy cups because you can literally pop the sippy cup in the dishwasher and the label does not come off! 

I also really like the idea of ordering a set with my address and family name to stick on dishes so you can make sure you get your dish back when you take food to pot luck or bring dinner to a family. 

I received a test product to review in exchange for a honest review. However, all opinions are my own. I do not promote products that I would not buy myself. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

FREE Summer Fun + A Great Website

Happy Thursday friends! I know the summer is quickly drawing to a close (hard to believe) and if you are like me you might be looking for fun summer activities to do that get you out of the heat. Have you thought about trying out a new museum? Museums can be fun places for children and adults alike. We recently had the opportunity to check out some awesome ones while in D.C. (post coming soon) but most every city offers muesums for children and adults. 

One of my favorite websites, The Penny Hoarder, has created a great article about how to get free museum days you might want to check out. If you have not heard of this site I highly encourage you to check it out. It is full of great tips on freebies, making money, and saving money. I got hung up for like 15 minutes on the article on things you can get free on your birthday. Have fun, check out the site, and enjoy this photo of our little guy at our visit to the Natural History Museum this summer! 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

5 Things You MUST do in Asheville/Mountain Wedding + Giveaway

Today I wanted to share with you our recent trip to Asheville, NC for one of my close friend's wedding. My friend is a close friend from college and sorority sister of mine (not to mention a fellow blogger, check her out) who is quite the world traveler. She actually met her groom (who is from New Zealand) while working in Germany and they have done a lot more traveling of the world together since then. They are now living in the fun town of Asheville, NC so that is where the wedding took place. We had never been to Asheville so we decided to make a long weekend out of it just the two of us and tour the city while we were there (my amazing parents kept the little guy for us for the weekend).

Disclaimer: We did not have time to visit the Biltmore while we were there I heard you need a full day to fully appreciate it and we only had a 1/2 day so we will have to return to visit the Biltmore.

O.k. with that being said here are the top 5 things you MUST do in Asheville followed by photos of her lovely mountain wedding:

1.  Eat brunch at Biscuit Head

Seriously ya'll....this place was out of this world good! It is called Biscuit Head because their biscuits are the size of a cat's head. And they have this awesome jam/jelly bar with all these super fun jellies you can try. I got a fried green tomato stuffed biscuit complete with at least 20 jellies. A-MAZING. Not to mention we brunched at this location with some of our best friends which made it even more enjoyable. I def, def, def, recommend this place! 

2. Visit the Omni Grove Park Inn

This hotel/spa will take your breathe away. Even if you don't stay here visit for the view alone. It is worth it! They also host a National Gingerbread House competition that would be a blast to come to and visit at Christmas time! It is also on my bucket list to go back and visit the underground spa. You really can't beat the Grove Park Inn's view of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

3. Visit the J. Crew Distribution Center
It is just outside of Asheville....if you google it you can find the address. They have a distribution store on the side of the distribution center and have really great prices. I got a pair of cute pink shorts for like $15. And apparently a couple times a year they have box sales where everything in boxes in the center is like $5. If you are in town and have time check it out!

4. Eat at White Duck Tacos

Another fantastic eat. Very cheap and very delicious. There are a couple locations in Asheville. We ate at the arts district and sat outside. It was lovely. 

5. Visit some of Asheville's Local Breweries 
There are TONS to choose from....Asheville is known for it many breweries. Take a brewery tour or do your own. You can even hop on a group bike and ride from brewery to brewery. And for the non beer lovers like me there is always cider! ;) 

Now on to the lovely wedding details. Kiwi and Peach (their nicknames) got married on top of a mountain in the Blue Ridge area. They had a shuttle that drove the guests up to the lovely wedding venue. I am going to show some photos of the details below. Their were so many lovely details all the way from the food and drinks (which was specific to the countries in which they have lived and visited) to the Bluegrass band that played both during the ceremony and then played and called group line dances during the reception. 

Ok first off I have to show you all Kiwi and Peach's awesome fireplace in their home. It really had nothing to do with their wedding other than that they invited all their guests over to their home the night before the wedding for 'smores which was awesome (if you haven't tried peanut butter in your 'smore you need to)! Ok below is the is actually an old mantle she found and fastened to her wall and then cut logs and glued them in to the mantle/wall to make it look like a real fireplace. It look amazing. Makes me want to do this in my bedroom or another room that does not have a mantle. 

And now for photos of the wedding...below is the backdrop...GORGEOUS, right?

The awesome bluegrass band.

The beautiful bride and FOB

I loved that her plates were a mismatch collection of vintage beauties 


My man and I at the wedding with our beautiful hand made fan

Overall it was a wonderful weekend spent with the love of my life and some of my best friends to celebrate the marriage of two people we love very much! 

Now for the giveaway...

Firmoo has offered to giveaway 1 pair of glasses with free shipping to a lucky US reader from this link: this includes the frames, standard 1.5 index single vision lenses. If you aren't sure who Firmoo is you can check out my previous post here. Be sure to enter to win below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway