A Little Vacation

In case you don’t follow my Instagram  then you may not know that I am getting married!  I am SO excited, for many reasons.  First and foremost, I get to pronounce my lifelong devotion to the love of my life and best friend BHLDN dress (guess which one 😉 ).  And finally, I am very excited, because we chose to have a small destination wedding at an all-inclusive resort near Cancun, Mexico.

Last weekend, we got to go down early to check out the resort, and it was AH-mazing!  We are staying at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya for our wedding in June.  As soon as we got there, we were taken back by just the lobby, so beautiful!

We were impressed by the service and hospitality as it was, but while we were checking in, we found out that we had gotten a complimentary upgrade from our normal room, to the Sky Terrace, which meant we had a standard balcony, PLUS our own private rooftop balcony with a jacuzzi!  The resort is split into two sides, the Heaven side, geared towards the 18 and up crowd, and then the Hacienda side, geared towards families with kids.  They each have their own lobbies, with slightly different amenities, but you are free to roam between the two.

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Now our weekend was a whirlwind, because we only had 4 days, two of which were travel days, and one of which we had an appointment with the weddings department to pick out the venue and decorations for our big day.  We tried to take full advantage of as many of the offerings though – at least on the relaxation side!

Most of the days we hung out by the pool or on the beach while waiters kept our beverages topped off.  My favorite thing to drink was the pina colada, while Mason was a fan of margaritas.  The pool had a fun swim-up bar, and was totally lit up at night.  The beaches were soft and sandy.  We waded into the water around waist deep and could see big fish swimming around us.  Can’t wait to check out the complimentary snorkel gear next time we are there!

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View of the pool all lit up at night, with the swim-up bar in the cabana to the left.

The food on the resort was amazing.  For lunch there was a buffet, as well as a grill going by the pool, so you could chill out with a burger and fries.  For dinner, there are multiple restaurants with varying cuisines (French, Mexican, Italian), and then there are also little food carts on the Hacienda side, where you could get crepes or tacos.

After dinner we went out dancing in the resort nightclub.  The club went back farther than we realized!  It was so big!  It seemed to be made up of different lit up platforms surrounding a couple jacuzzis (which we didn’t even realize were there until we watched some guys take their shirts off and hop in).  At the end of the night, we went up to our room and ordered room service (also included!).

On our last day, we did our wedding appointment, and picked out the venues for our wedding events, aaaaand of course tackled the most important job: picking out our cake.  They didn’t have cake ready for us right away because Mason has Celiac disease and can’t eat gluten (if you or someone you know has a gluten intolerance and would like some tips, please comment below!).  They sent them up to our room, and we ended our stay sitting in bed eating cake.

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We had the best time at this resort!  All of the managers kept asking us for reviews or anything they can improve on, and I honestly couldn’t think of a single thing.  The only thing I wish was different, was I wish that I had checked a bag so I could pack my own sunscreen instead of pay a god-awful amount at the resort gift shop.

Cannot wait to be back at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya this June to marry the man of my dreams!

Happy vacations!

-jules

My Favorite Things: January

Ever have those products or items you just want to rave to everyone about?  I do!  Here are some things I am currently obsessed with this month:

#1)  Bralettes by Lively: I came across this brand on an instagram ad, and thought they were so pretty I had to look.  Not only are they pretty, but they are so comfy!  I got these two patterns, and a solid black on.  They fit nicely, and don’t pull on the shoulders.  Bralettes are $35 each, or 3 for $75.

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#2) Garnier Charcoal Blackhead Eliminating Scrub:  THIS SCRUB.  It works so well on blackheads that even my fiancé uses it.  My face feels so fresh and clean, and I finally was able to wean my skin off of benzoyl peroxide with this stuff.  You can get it at places like Target or drug stores for five or six dollars.

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#3) Dakine Women’s Cruiser Kit: I am always on the go and squeezing in workouts.  This means that I don’t always have the time to shower, but I like having a kit to freshen up.  This toiletry bag fits everything I need for the day and traveling.  On a normal day, I have packed into it: my makeup, deodorant, extra contacts, a hairbrush, face wash (see above), hair brush, and a can of dry shampoo.  With plenty of room to spare.  It also has a hook so you can hang it up.  I pretty much just keep all my daily things I use in it, and keep it hung in my bathroom, and then roll it up and pack it when I’m ready to go.  Get it HERE for $40.

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#4) Si, by Georgio Armani roller ball:  So I just can’t commit to having a full bottle of perfume, and I love the portability of roller ball perfume.  This scent is sweet and subtle, floral with a touch of vanilla, and my current favorite.  You can get it at places like Ulta and Sephora for $28.

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#5) The Lake House, by Kate Morton:  If you haven’t read anything by Kate Morton, I suggest drop whatever you are doing or reading, and pick up either this book, or The Secret Keeper, or the Forgotten Garden.  Her stories are these epic mysteries that span over generations, and always end in a twist.  Trust me, you’ll be hooked!  Learn all about Kate Morton and her books HERE.

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What are some of your favorite things?

-jules

Team in Training’s Newest Member

Sometimes you get some news that just devastates you.  That happened this week.

Without going into too many details, because it still hurts, my family lost a very special person this week.  We didn’t know she was sick, because she didn’t want anyone outside of her nuclear family to know.  This strong woman only wanted people to think of her as the healthy, smiling, beautiful person that she was, not as someone who was sick.

Grief is a weird thing, because it affects everyone differently.  She was the first person in my life that I have lost and grieved for.  The first thing I did was cry.  A sloppy wet cry.  The next day I was numb, until I ruined a cake I was making, and found myself sobbing again.  The cake had nothing to do with her.  It was like the negative emotions associated with ruining the perfectly good cake summoned the harsher, pervasive realization that she was gone, and that was worse.  I felt guilt.  I felt like I didn’t even deserve to grieve.  I didn’t see her enough.  I didn’t talk to her enough.  My mom and I really should have visited more.  Why haven’t I kept in touch with her daughter?  For days I have teared up at just the thought of her, and the thought of her daughter, my age and without her mom, her rock.

She’s not having a funeral or memorial service, which makes losing her even harder to cope with because theres nothing I can do for the rest of the family.  They are all the way on the east coast, while I’m powerless in California, with only my words to help.  And the only words I have are the same words that so many others are saying.  The only way I can cope then, is to honor her in the best way I can:

Lynn was a 3 time cancer survivor, and Team in Training member.  She raised over $100,000 for cancer research by participating in endurance events like marathons, Race Across America, and even an 80 mile roller blade for charity.  In her honor and spirit, I’m going to continue her legacy by completing a 100 mile bike ride for Team In Training.   My Team in Training is Team Lynn, and our current goal is to raise 4,800 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  To visit my fundraising page, and maybe even donate, please click below:

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Please support me in continuing the legacy and spirit of beautiful, strong, kind, amazing Lynn, and donate to my Team In Training.

Go Team!

-jules

Wanderlust and Delicious Food

When we drove across the country last January to start my new life in California, my friend Julie and I powered through North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico in 2 days with the sole intention of seeing the Grand Canyon on our way to the Bay Area.  Unfortunately, as should be expected while driving across the country in January, the roads were too snowy for us to safely drive through.  So we had to dip all the way down to Phoenix, AZ instead, and drive all the way back up through California.  I was SO disappointed.  I just wanted to see the big whole in the ground.

FLASH FORWARD to Thanksgiving 2016: We made it.  My best friend and her husband road tripped all the way from Colorado, and Mason and drove all the way from Sunnyvale, CA, to meet in Flagstaff for a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner, and finally…finally…see the Grand Canyon.

First let me tell you about our Thanksgiving dinner.  I know, its January.  But I haven’t 7d2b989d-9a31-4ea6-83b6-e5c0aba5d6b5blogged so I need to catch
you all up on my life.  So my friend Becca and her husband Tyler have been living and working on this amazing farm in Colorado called Sustainable Settings.  She brought down all this delicious, beautiful produce, creamy home-churned, grass-fed butter and fresh
cream, and the perfect sized, free range turkey.  Mason and I contributed our CSA that we are part of here in California, Farm Fresh to You.  Just look at the spread (all gluten free, so Mason could eat everything!):  the perfectly cooked turkey, a pumpkin pie with sweet pot
ato crust, a squash casserole, cabbage & pomegranate salad, and roasted broccoli & brussels sprouts with balsamic vinegar & feta.  SO good.  SO much to be grateful for ❤

The next day, we got up, made breakfast, and we were off.  The Grand Canyon.  It was an hour long drive, and then we had to take a shuttle to the main trail that leads down.  There were SO many people out hiking on Black Friday!  At first we were a little annoyed with the crowds, but we could only respect a family that valued outdoor time over shopping.  But let me tell you, if you have not seen the Grand Canyon, you cannot understand how grand, how overwhelmingly grand, it really is.  Just to put into words how I felt, I can only tell you that I cried when I got there.  I felt this pure, excited, joy.  Glee.  My stomach had butterflies.  Thank goodness for sunglasses, because in this first picture, I was crying.  Below are some more of my favorite shots:

 

We hiked down for two hours straight, and made it about three and half miles, with a total descent of about 2000 feet.  FYI if you are planning a visit to the Grand Canyon keep in mind these things:  first, it is 7 miles down, with a total descent of 4000 feet.  Did you read that?  That is a 14 mile round trip, and you are climbing BACK UP 4000 feet!  We made it half way.  If we started early enough we might have been able to do the whole thing, but also there is this caveat: The top of the rim starts at around 7000 feet.  If you live at sea level (which Mason and I do), then climbing back up is going to be quite a challenge.  Mason and I are both triathletes.  Not professional, obviously, but in pretty good shape, and I sure was huffing and puffing all the way up, trying to keep up with Becca and Tyler who live at 6000 feet in Colorado.

 

Overall, how does one just review the Grand Canyon?  It is by far the most spectacular thing I have ever seen.  It is so vast.  Its so beautiful.  It instills wanderlust in me.  I can’t wait to go back and make it to the very bottom and hike back up.  Maybe on my 2018 bucket list?  All I can hope for this year is to see something that will truly take my breath away as much as this place did.  I think it might be seeing Mason standing at the end of the aisle on June 18 😉

What has taken your breath away recently?

Happy wanderlust,

-jules

 

10 Goals for 2017

It is my blog-a-versary!  And in honor of the new year and my 2 year blog-a-versary (and with a stroke of inspiration thanks to Julie & Julia) I am making a promise to myself to blog more.  So to start off my first post of 2017, and being a good opportunistic millennial, here is my list of my goals to accomplish this year:

  1. Blog more (duh)
  2. Learn to play the ukulele (for the record, YES, as of 3 weeks ago I do in fact own a ukulele.  A christmas present from my wonderful fiancé!)
  3. Play the ukulele in a duet with my dad on my wedding day.
  4. Je voudrais apprendre Française!  I downloaded the app duolingo, and have been practicing tout le jours.
  5. Get a personal best time for 13.1.
  6. Get a personal best time for 70.3 (hello IM Santa Rosa, 70.3).
  7. Learn MatLab & another form of code writing.
  8. Read more books.  My reading list coming soon.  Follow what I’m reading on the app Goodreads by searching for Juliane Young.
  9. Break Sydney’s pulling habit.
  10. Drink more wine (because we live in California, after all)

 

Happy New Year!

-jules