Travel

My trip to Niagara Falls

Last weekend my husband and I traveled to Ontario, Canada to visit Niagara Falls and Lake Ontario. It was breathtaking, I honestly am still in awe of its beauty. It was about a 7 hour ride for us to travel up to Canada and it was well worth the travel time. If you love nature, wine, breweries, and amusement, Niagara is a great place for couples and families.

Our first day there we went through customs to enter Canada, it was a smooth process as long as you prepared for it. We had to get a PCR covid test 72 hours before travel and bring a paper copy of our results along with covid vaccine records and our passports. I also had to upload all of that information on ARRIVECAN which is an app Canada uses to have electronic documents of who comes and goes.

Then we were off to our first hotel stay at the Capri Inn which is on the channel that goes out to Lake Ontario. It is in the city area but has a limited amount of rooms with a lake view. It was a great stay- clean, shower had great pressure and the beds were comfortable. After we checked in, we decided to go check out a couple of the wineries in the area. I was shocked to find out that they have over 100 in a 30 minute radius of where we were staying.

The first one we visited and honestly the best one- I highly recommend visiting is Reif Estate Winery. Don’t make the same mistake we did, make a reservation!! The wine we tasted was very good that we even bought a few bottles, which is rare for me to do. The ambiance there is beautiful. Surrounded by fields and fields of wine grapes. The winery has food and slushies as well. We enjoyed it!

We then headed out to two other wineries where one was awful and the other one was just okay. Then spent a low key night watching tv in our room and ordered food to go. It was a beautiful day, but wanted to rest for Niagara Falls the following morning.

The next morning we checked out and headed to Lake Ontario, walked the pier and then had breakfast at Captains. The food is subpar in Canada, we struggled finding decent food. The lake was beautiful and we really enjoyed walking the pier.

We took a quick 15 minute drive over to Niagara Falls Scenic Park and parked- $30. There is no free parking anywhere, we even had to pay to park our car at our hotel this night. As soon as we entered, we were in awe of the views, it is stunning. We walked all along the river to see the New York , USA side of the falls and Canadian side. If it’s windy, you will get wet pretty much anywhere you go but there is an area near Table Rock where you will get wet just standing there. Table Rock is a restaurant that you can eat at, but also the building has a gift shop and entrance to Journey Behind the Falls, which is the excursion we decided to do.

Journey Behind the Falls allows you to walk the tunnels and go out on the observation deck right next to the falls, it’s beautiful and very wet. Don’t worry, they give you a poncho! There is so much history to this tour and we thoroughly enjoyed it. It took us about 40 minutes to get through it. It isn’t a tour- you do it at your own pace. Highly recommend!

We walked around some more before heading to our hotel- The Oakes Hotel. We had a stunning view of the falls from our room. Then we headed out to the casino to check it out and have dinner. We ate at the italian place in the food court- it is sit down and was decent. It wasn’t amazing but wasn’t bad either. Later we got Thai ice cream and it was so delicious, you should definitely check it out if you love dessert.

Back at the falls, they illuminate them at night from dusk til about 2am. It starts off a certain color and then later on it changes constantly. It was really cool to see and you can even pay to be able to go to the powerstation to change the colors yourself. We didn’t do this but I imagine this is fun for kids.

The sunrise comes up over the falls and it was a great way to start the day with a cup of coffee. We just kept saying how amazing it was to see, can’t say enough about it. We checked out of the hotel and took the incline railway down to the falls and walked into the amusement part of town to check it out. There is a beautiful garden to walk through- it’s free and tons of restaurants, stores, and amusement type stuff.

Do yourself a favor and plan your trip! You won’t regret it. Getting back into the USA was super easy and then we headed home! <3

Travel

My Trip to St. Lucia

St. Lucia Island Adventure:

This was a beautiful island that my husband and I went to for our honeymoon. We stayed at the Sandals adults only resort, the resort itself was absolutely stunning. We are big foodies and unfortunately most of the food was subpar compared to other all inclusive resorts we have visited. The spa was gorgeous and the couple massage we really enjoyed as well.

One of my favorite things that I did while on this trip was scuba diving, I got certified right at the resort and loved every minute of the experience. We also did a full day excursion to zipline in the forest, taste cocoa beans, and went through a banana farm. We had a local cooked meal and got to shop downtown for a bit as well. I do not recommend leaving the resort without booking it through an excursion company. Also like to mention that there are many stray dogs and animals among the island, it can be hard to see for animal lovers. – trigger warning. It isn’t uncommon to see people with machetes and we had armed guards at the compound our hotel was located.

We did an amazing hike were you can see venezuela from the top and the history there was intriguing. That was followed by a beautiful sunset cruise, the island is beautiful but very poverty stricken. There are no private beaches and we were unfortunately bothered constantly to buy things from locals while we tried to enjoy a relaxing day at the pool or on the beach. This was a major turn off for us.

Another great day trip is to the Piton Mountains where they have a sulfur springs mud bath   It is the only drive in volcano in the world. It does smell like rotten eggs but you get use to it. It was a full catamaran day trip, it included lunch, the springs, and snorkeling. It was a lot of fun and we really enjoyed the beautiful views.

I definitely recommend visiting this island, just beware of the things I mentioned and enjoy what the island has to offer.

~Katie

Travel

10 Packing Tips For Travel!

10 Packing Tips to help make your travel plans start off smoothly. I always used to end up with a room that looked like an explosion went off and now that doesn’t happen anymore. It’s important to always start with a list. Write down all the things you think you need/ want to bring and then each day you are gone so you can easily figure out how much of each item you’ll need

Tips:

  1. Make clothes piles for each day.
  2. Roll your clothes instead of folding them.
  3. Get a good suitcase with four wheels to make travel days easier
  4. Pack backwards – leaving your first outfit on top to easily grab
  5. Try to pack fabrics that don’t wrinkle easy
  6. Back an empty tote for souvenirs
  7. Put heavy items like toiletries on the bottom
  8. Use dry cleaning bags to lay over your toiletries / and delicates to avoid spills and pulls when luggage gets jostled around
  9. Keep medication in your carry on just in case your luggage gets lost.
  10. Bring a laundry cube for dirty clothes

These simple hacks will be sure to reduce stress and anxiety prior to travel. Happy traveling and be sure to take tons of pictures!

Fun, Travel

Labor Day Festivities

Labor DAY!

Do you know why we have the first Monday off in September?

“Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers and is traditionally observed on the first Monday in September. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894.” (history.com)

It’s important to always remind ourselves why things happen today. It’s also the last ditch effort to embrace summer before fall sweaters, boots and pumpkin everything happens.

How are you celebrating? I go to SC every year to visit family and have a long weekend of fun in the southern sun. There are always parades on the water and land and it’s usually beautiful at 80 degrees. We end up having tons of seafood and fun .

Are you thinking of a picnic? Having a party? Or going away for the long weekend? Whatever you decide I’m sure it will be great and dazzles with red, white and blue everywhere.

Here is a cute recipe for the holiday:

Labor Day Popcorn
Popcorn Themed Ingredients:
Plain popped popcorn (no butter)
Wilton royal blue candy melts
Wilton bright white candy melts
Wilton red candy melts
Red M&Ms
Patriotic nonpareils
Patriotic star confetti sprinkles

How To Make Red, White and Blue Popcorn:

Line a cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper. (This is not going in the oven, so you can use either.) Spread the popped popcorn in a single layer on the lined cookie sheet. You can use pre-packaged plain popcorn or you can pop your own. Read how to make Instant Pot Popcorn.
In a microwave safe bowl, microwave the blue candy melts for 45 seconds. Remove from the microwave and stir until completely melted and smooth. Using a spoon, drizzle on top of the popcorn. Immediately sprinkle the patriotic nonpareils on top of the melted blue chocolate.

Add the white candy melts to a separate microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 45 seconds. Stir until melted and smooth. Drizzle on top of the popcorn. Before the white chocolate hardens, sprinkle patriotic star confetti sprinkles on top of the melted chocolate.

In a third microwave safe bowl, microwave the red candy melts and drizzle all over the popcorn. Immediately place the red M&M candies on top of the melted red chocolate.
Place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator and chill for 1 hour to allow the chocolate to completely harden. Once hardened, break the popcorn into bite-size pieces.

 

Fun, Travel

Soaking Up the Last Bit of Summer!

Summer is Ending. Kids are headed back to school next week! 

As September is upon us, it’s time to make those plans for some last minute summer fun. There are so many things you can do that are fun and local. Have you visited your local zoo, gone mini golfing, or had a picnic in a local park? No matter where you live, I’m sure this article will help drum up some ideas to explore for you and your loved ones. 

For adults, I love going to local breweries and wineries to support local businesses. It’s like an adult picnic! Grab some friends or a date and pack some cheese, crackers, fruit and veggies and enjoy the day. You can also go to new local restaurants and have a date night or girls night out. I love getting out and going to a concert or a bar with local bands to dance the night away or just enjoy from the bar. There are so many great outdoor areas that make a cool ambience and unique experience. 

For families, there are fairs, petting zoos, farms, and other cute low key local hotspots that are sure to impress and not break the bank. Or how about a water park or amusement park for the day to get some thrill and exercise for the kiddos. There’s still time to go pick fruit and have a day to visit a local orchard. Sunflower mazes are going on and in full bloom. There are always pop up markets, carnivals, and parades that kids would love too. And many towns do touch a truck experiences this time of year. 

If you can, plan a beach or lake day to just relax and get some time to slow down. OR maybe plan a day trip to somewhere you have been wanting to visit.

School time and the holidays are upon us. Stay safe and much love! Enjoy the last bit of summer.

~Katie

Uncategorized

New Hampshire Adventures

NH Adventures

Have you ever wanted to visit the beautiful state of NH? Last summer I had the opportunity to live there for two months while my husband renovated a log cabin. We stayed in a little cabin that was secluded out in White Mountains and it was gorgeous. There is so much to do especially if you love the outdoors and have adventurous little ones. I would highly recommend  visiting. There are so many campgrounds, hotels, and quaint towns to visit. 

Even if you do more winter sport activities- NH is still a great place to visit. While we were there we hiked Mt. Moosilauke and Camel’s hump (VT) both were challenging, fun, and stunning aerial views. We also spent time hiking remote areas with our metal detector, went snorkeling and swimming in the swimming holes. They are everywhere and glorious. We even spent time gold panning in some of the river beds. The sound of the water flowing, nature chirping in the background and the pure silence of the hustle and bustle was just what the doctor ordered. 

If you want to go into town, the food is so good and affordable. Great local spots for ice cream- we visited Moose Scoops more than I care to admit. There are zip lining and rope courses downtown, the polar caves, and Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves that I would definitely recommend checking out for some education and fun. 

We went mini golfing one day, visited a local winery and brewery, and scavenged for covered bridges- there are over 50 in NH. Storyland is also a great spot for kids to visit. You can surely find fun for everyone when visiting. They have beautiful lakes and great pull offs for photo opportunities of the great mountain landscapes.

Another unique experience that I got to do was to pick daisies, boil them down, and dye my own yarn. I learned how to knit and I even made a hat. It was such an amazing experience. I read a book in I don’t know how long, lounged in a hammock, and really got to do some great soul searching and self care. It’s so important to take time to listen to what your body needs. 

If you are looking to get away and find some tranquil, fun and low key family fun- I would say you have found a great place to go.

 

Fun

Summer Family Fun Ideas

Summer is going by so fast, but have no fear there is still time for family fun. Join me as I break down the top 5 family fun things to do that won’t break the bank and are enjoyable for everyone.

 

  1. Mini-golf (my personal favorite) This activity is long enough but not too long. It’s a fun morning or evening activity for all ages.
  2. Beach day or lake day- pack the family up and head to the sand and water for a fun day of building sand castles, swimming, and reading (for parents)
  3. Picnic in the park- pack a fun lunch and snacks or dinner and bring a ball or cornhole games and just enjoy the great outdoors.
  4. Petting zoos or aquariums- with the pandemic hopefully behind us- many places have been letting kids in for free or at a huge discount. Go on a fun learning adventure today!

Since we are from all parts of the world, use this list as inspiration to plan a fun family day that is full of pictures, memories and laughs! Before you know it, it will be back to school and the fall will be upon us. 

 

Bringing the family together will allow everyone to take a break from work, phones, and give you a chance to reconnect and enjoy truly being together. So make the effort to minimize phone use and talk to one another. 

 

I’m planning a mini golf session this weekend and excited to have some quality family time and take time to refuel before going back to work Monday!

 

You can even make a game out of these activities to help the family engage and get into the activity together like a scavenger hunt or I spy type of fun. Or maybe a writing activity after to talk about their favorite part of the day.

 

Enjoy the day and can’t wait to see where it takes you!

 

 

Beauty

Summer Nail Colors

Need nail color suggestions for this summer? Look no further- I’m here to deep dive into the best color choices for 2021 summer that are trending right now venturing from classic style to bold new looks.

Here are the top 10 colors right now that will add some flare and style to your already cute outfits this season:

1- Cajun Shrimp
A vibrant and summery red nail polish that is classic and goes with everything.
2- Minty Green
A beautiful color that screams summer to me. You can dress it up or down and it’s a bright and warm hue of green!
3- Lavender
Who doesn’t love lavender. It’s relaxing and gives you that zen feeling. The pastel palette is sure to add a nice pop of color.
4- Yellow
Yellow is such a vibrant and happy color whether it’s neon or pastel. It’s a great summer vibe and sure to bring a smile to your face, even when it’s raining.
5- Blue
Sky blue and navy are both popular this season whether you’re traveling or going to a wedding. These colors are sure to compliment your look.
6-Orange
Who doesn’t like to go bold and be different. A bright and neon orange is a popular summer choice this season and will give your look a pop of color.
7-White
Classic white is a staple color. You can do a french manicure or fresh white manicure that will make you feel grounded and ready for any adventure.
8-Pink
There are so many shades of pink out there. I personally love a pastel pink that can match any outfit or event and give you a more natural feel.
9-Gray
This color can match any mood, outfit and adventure you are embarking on this summer!
10-Taupe
Something about a warm light brown color that brings you the sense of self awareness, comfort and the attitude that you can do anything.

I hope you enjoyed this summer nail color run down. I think pastel yellow is my next manicure!

 

Travel

My Time in Cancun, Mexico!

Cancun, Mexico was an amazing adventure from start to finish. My husband and I went with some friends of ours and stayed at the RUI. They have three sister resorts one grander than the next. The great thing about RUI is that they are all inclusive resorts with great food and entertainment. We booked all of our excursions through them and really enjoyed our stay there.

   

Downfall with Mexico is water, you have to drink bottled water and use it to brush your teeth as well. So it takes some getting used to when showering to make sure you don’t accidentally swallow any. IF you do, you will have stomach issues that is for sure. This also means ice is not common there and most alcohol gets served at room temperature. When we got to Mexico at the airport we immediately were like- vacation wahooo. Tequila shots- No bueno, so warm and gross. So don’t make the same mistakes haha.

Make sure you get a plan to make phone calls or get wifi to do wifi calling. The hotel charges quite a bit to call using their phones. When you are in Mexico, I do recommend using the hotel services to book your trips outside the hotel compound. We did venture out on our own and it didn’t give me the warm and fuzzy feeling of safety. If you do decide to leave on your own, be aware of your surroundings and stay in public places for your safety. 

Now that all of that is out of the way, Mexico is beautiful! We did a few excursions, one being an adventurous one (which I love). We did a full day excursion to Coba ruins and visited a Maya village on the Yucatan Peninsula. This included us rappelling into a cenote for a swim, cruising along a lagoon in a canoe and hiking to a zipline inside a rainforest jungle. When at the Mayan village of Pac Chen, we had a blessing ceremony from a local shaman and got to gain an insight into ancient and present day Maya culture from our wonderful guide- Juan! We ended our day enjoying a beautiful home cooked meal and lounged in a hammock.

Another day, we went to Rivera Maya to do a snorkeling excursion on a coral reef. It was very well protected, you had to wear chemical free sunscreen and you couldn’t not touch or step on the coral reef. It was stunning and we got to lounge on the beach and enjoy local cuisine while there. 

The last excursion we did, was a jet ski tour out to coral reef bed in the middle of the ocean, we got to see beautiful starfish, conch shells, and other beautiful fish and feed them! 

We did experience some local nightlife. One night we went to the Congo and then Senior Frogs. Definitely a different and fun experience. We were able to go downtown to an open market and do some shopping as well. 

Mexico has some amazing areas and I definitely want to get back to see other parts and the ruins there! Happy Traveling friends~

Uncategorized

4th of July Picnic Recipes

The 4th of July is almost here and more and more people are wanting to get out and celebrate! What better way to do so than with a picnic followed by a fireworks show? Here are 10 recipes that are sure to dazzle and amaze!

 

Drinks:

Strawberry Lemonade

Who doesn’t love a good strawberry lemonade on a hot, summer day? Put it in mason jars for easy transportation for a great picnic drink option! Click here for the recipe.

Patriotic Punch

This is a great drink to show your patriotism for the 4th of July! Just make sure that all 3 juices/drinks have different amounts of sugar content per ounce.This will help keep the layers separated. Check out how to make it here.

 

Appetizers:

Salsa

What’s one of the first things that you think of when you think of picnics and appetizers? I think of dips! This homemade salsa recipe is the perfect start for your 4th of July picnic!

Avocado Spinach Artichoke Dip

Another dip to include is this cool twist to a spinach artichoke dip option! You can bring a bunch of tortilla chips to enjoy both dips on this list! Find out how to make it here.

 

Entrees:

Pulled Pork Sliders

These sliders are a great option to keep entrees in individual sized portions to help keep everything organized! They’re great to make ahead of time and warm up right before you pack your picnic! You can find the recipe here!

Beef and Mushroom Burgers

You can’t not have burgers to celebrate the 4th of July, right? These beef and mushroom burgers are a perfect addition to your picnic basket! Learn how to make them here.

 

Sides:

Deviled Eggs

Who doesn’t like deviled eggs?? They make for a great pairing with both entree recipes listed! Check out a delicious recipe for classic deviled eggs here.

Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad with Walnut Pesto

Another great side to pair with the entrees listed is this awesome version of pasta salad! Veggies and pasta, what isn’t there to love? Find out how to make it here!

 

Desserts:

Sugar Cookie S’mores

Cookies? S’mores? What’s not to love about this fusion?? It’s a great dessert option that’s portable! You can find the recipe here.

Patriotic Candy Bark

How do you show your patriotism apart from drinking some patriotic punch? You also indulge in patriotic candy bark! Check out this delicious recipe!

 

Do you have a go to 4th of July picnic recipe that never fails? Comment it below!

 

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