Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice

I can’t believe it’s been a year since the 31 Days of Halloween kickoff and we are back at it again! I spoke about this on Instagram stories, but this year I am really embracing the rough and ugly characters for the collection. What better rough and ugly character than Beetlejuice. I knew I had to enlist my talented friend Britney for makeup (check out her last years looks: Jessica Rabbit, Jack Skellington, Edward Scissorhands and Ursula). I could have definitely gone the glam route in terms of makeup and costume but I truly want these characters to be as close to their authentic versions as possible. We even shot this one in a cemetery for ultimate likeness.

Check out our Beetlejuice family costume from 2019 here and my Lydia Deetz costume from the 31 days last year. There are so many iconic characters from this film, you may be seeing another one later this month 🙂 I have linked my costume below and included several different options because there are so many costume choices. Happy October 1! It’s Showtime!

My jacket (c/o Unique Vintage) // White button down shirt // black tie // wig // leggings // motorcycle boots 

Full Costume 1 // Full Costume 2 // Jacket 1 // Jacket 2 // Wig 1

21 National Rum Day Cocktails

National Rum Day is today and that makes me very happy. Rum is my favorite spirit (a classic daiquiri is always my go-to at any craft cocktail bar). Rum is also the staple in my favorite tiki and tropical drinks so any day dedicated to it is a winner. To celebrate National Rum Day, I’m sharing 19 tasty rum-infused recipes from around the US and Caribbean! 

Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort – Oranjestad, Aruba

Nestled on the Caribbean Island of Aruba and steps away from world renowned Eagle Beach, Amsterdam Manor offers a captivating getaway for those in need of a one-of-a-kind escape. While enjoying this island oasis, guests can watch the sunset from Passions on the Beach restaurant as they sink their toes in the sand and enjoy arum-based cocktail inspired by the fruity, tropical tastes of Aruba, like the Blue Moon or an Aruba Ariba, the island’s signature (and iconic) cocktail. Capturing a glimpse of colorful paradise in each glass, these cocktails are just as blissful to make as they are to enjoy.

  • Aruba Ariba:
    • ¾ oz. vodka
    • ¾ oz. rum
    • ½ oz. Crème de Banana liquor
    • ½ cup orange juice (view product website here)
    • ½ cup pineapple juice
    • A dash of Coecoei liquor
    • In a cocktail shaker, add the above ingredients and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Pour into a tall hurricane glass and garnish with an orange and maraschino cherry.

  • Blue Moon
    • 1.5 oz. coconut rum
    • 1.5 oz. pineapple juice
    • ¾ oz. Blue Curacao
    • A dash of coconut cream
    • In a cocktail shaker, add the above ingredients and shake vigorously for about 10 seconds. Pour into a hurricane glass and garnish with a slice of pineapple and a maraschino cherry.

Belize Tourism Board — Belize City, Belize

While there’s lots of ways to celebrate, the country of Belize is testing the creativity of palates (and bartending skills) with homemade rum-centric cocktail options that go way beyond your average Pina Colada. Made from sugarcane, rum originated in the Caribbean, and it’s still the most popular liquor in the region — which makes “traveling with your tastebuds” all the more enjoyable. Across Belize, these rum-filled concoctions can be found at every bar, and are practically embedded in Belizean culture. Choosing your variation is a personal decision, but you really can’t go wrong with either local favorite!

  • Rum Punch — The national cocktail of Belize, this local delicacy appears on almost every drink menu in the country. Few cocktails have as many different recipes as the Rum Punch — and it’s one of the best drinks to take liberties with, mixing and matching fruits and dialing up (or down) the amount of rum included. Rum Punch is a quick and easy cocktail to make and only requires:
    • 2 cups of white rum
    • 1 cup of coconut rum
    • 2 ½ cups of fresh orange juice and pineapple juice
    • 1/2 cup of fresh lime juice and 3 tablespoons of grenadine (or enough to make the punch into a pretty pink color 🙂
    • Simply stir all the ingredients together in a pitcher or punch bowl, and chill before serving. Use short rocks glasses full of ice, and garnish your Rum Punch with slices of orange and pineapple. This recipe yields 8-10 servings.

  • Panty Rippa — Besides Rum Punch, Panty Rippas are another popular cocktail in the country, especially in the cayes (or islands). Instead of light or dark rum though, Panty Rippas are a much simpler cocktail to make using mainly coconut rum. Top off a shot or two with pineapple juice and you’ve got yourself a Belizean specialty.
    • 1 ½ oz of coconut rum
    • 2 oz pineapple juice
    • 1 splash of grenadine
    • Simply swirl the ingredients in a glass with ice, garnish with a lime wedge or cherry and enjoy! This recipe yields 1 serving.

Lady in the Tropics at Grand Lucayan’s Lighthouse Pointe – Freeport, Bahamas

At Grand Bahama’s Lighthouse Pointe, the leading all-inclusive resort at Grand Lucayan, the authenticity of the Bahamas meets the ease and affordability of an all-inclusive resort. Overlooking a 7.5-acre white-sand beach and sprawling acres of pristine property, guests of Lighthouse Pointe can relax and enjoy exceptional crowd free amenities. With an emphasis on personalized service, safety and warm island hospitality, this is a picture-perfect getaway for revelers looking to truly experience a tropical, sun-splashed Caribbean retreat. Everyone knows that the best way to beat the heat in the Bahamas is a refreshing fruity cocktail, and rum is the best way to kick-off any island getaway. The Lady in the Tropics sets the perfect scene of paradise with the it’s unique balance of island flavors.

  • Lady in the Tropics
    • 1 oz. Mango Rum
    • 1 oz. Coconut Rum​
    • 2 oz. Gold Rum
    • 3 oz. Pineapple Juice
    • 1 ½ oz. Lemonade
    • Splash of Grenadine (so it goes to the bottom and creates the red color)
    • Combine all ingredients, except grenadine, in mixing glass with ice. Shake well then pour into tall cocktail glass. Add a small splash of grenadine. Raise glass and toast.

Tai’d to the Dock – Margaritaville Beach Resort Nassau – Nassau, Bahamas

A Bahamian twist on a classic Mai Tai, this rum cocktail takes happy hour to a whole new level at Margaritaville Beach Resort Nassau, the brand-new luxury island getaway inspired by Jimmy Buffet’s iconic state of mind. Rich rum undertones mingle hints of citrus and cinnamon to capture the essence of Bahamian culture and provide a relaxing, laid-back oasis. Whether sipping in Margaritaville or at home, the resort’s signature cocktail provides a change in latitude and a change in attitude.

  • Tai’d to the Dock
    o​   ​1 ½ oz. Appleton Estate Reserve Rum
    o    ½ oz. Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva Ru​m​
    o    ½ oz. Giffard Orgeat Syrup
    o    ¾ oz. Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
    o    ½ oz. Sun Orchard Pasteurized Lime Juice
    o    2 Dashfire Cinnamon Bitters
    o    1/2 Lime
    o    Strain over fresh iced glass and garnish with mint

Hemingway Daiquiri at Ocean Key Resort & Spa — Key West, FL

Boasting a stunning backdrop of vibrant jewel-toned shades of azure and turquoise, Ocean Key Resort & Spa – a luxurious oceanfront property overlooking the pristine waters where the Gulf of Mexico mingles with the Atlantic – welcomes guests with lively local entertainment and a delectable signature cocktail, the Hemingway Daiquiri. With warm tropical ocean breezes, eclectic sunset celebrations and signature daiquiri in-hand, Ocean Key Resort is the perfect escape for couples and friends, alike.

  • Hemingway Daiquiri: 
    • 2 oz Bacardi Superior Rum
    • 1 oz Grapefruit Juice
    • 1 oz Lime Juice
    • 1/2 oz Cane Syrup
    • 1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur
    • Strain over crushed ice in a double old fashioned glass, and garnish with a grapefruit slice.

Gumby Slumber at Little Palm Island Resort & Spa — Little Torch Key, FL

Recently honored in Condé Nast Travelers 2021 Hot List as a “Best New Hotel in the World,” Little Palm Island Resort & Spa – the only private island resort in the U.S. (only accessible by seaplane or boat) – delivers a true “Get Lost” experience for guests. Upon arrival, travelers are welcomed with the resort’s signature cocktail, the Gumby Slumber, setting the scene for a true tropical island getaway. Perfectly capturing the essence of the resort’s “Get Lost” motto, the newly reimagined thatched-roof bungalows are discreetly nestled throughout the island, where there are no in-room telephones, televisions or alarm clocks to distract.

  • Gumby Slumber: 
    • 1 part pineapple juice
    • 1 part cranberry juice
    • 1 part orange juice
    • 1 part Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
    • 1 part Parrot Bay Rum
    • Fresh coconut
    • Mix ingredients and serve chilled. Garnish with fresh coconut. For an extra kick, marinate the coconut garnish in 151 Rum.

Scorpion Bowl – The Palm Beaches, FL 

Nothing says luxe, tropical escape like The Palm Beaches – known as America’s First Resort Destination – comprised of 39 towns and cities from Boca Raton and Delray to Palm Beach and Jupiter. The Palm Beaches is perfect for those who want to feel world’s away and enjoy crowd-free beaches, warm turquoise waters and cleaner sands, during a low-key vacation. Sip back and relax while indulging in the Scorpion Bowl, an exotic tropical punch featuring flavors of guava, passion fruit, and nutty orgeat syrup sure to make you feel like you are in The Original, The One, The Only, The Palm Beaches.

  • Scorpion Bowl 
    • 2 oz. Appleton Estate Signature Blend Rum
    • 1 oz. Cruzan Black Strap Rum
    • 1 oz. Pierre Ferrand Cognac
    • 1 oz. Spice #2
    • 1 oz. Lime Juice
    • 1 oz. Guava Puree
    • .5 oz. Passion Fruit Puree
    • 2 oz. Orange Juice
    • 2 oz. Licor 43
    • 1.5 oz. Giffard Orgeat Syrup
    • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
    • 2 oz. Cava

Hemingway Daiquiri at Trump National Doral – Miami, FL 

Nothing says a tropical Miami weekend getaway like staying at the Trump National Doral where legendary, championship golf courses pair with breathtaking views and elegant surroundings in a world-class destination. Kick back and relax by the Royal Palm Pool, soaking up the sun while sipping on a handcrafted daiquiri. After all nothing says a tropical vacation like a daiquiri. Trump National offers an eclectic rum cocktail called the Hemingway Daiquiri, a crowd favorite featuring classic rum with an Ernest Hemingway twist delivering a refreshing drink to savor on these warm summer days!

  • Hemingway Daiquiri 
    • 1-3/4 oz M​ount Gay​ Black Barrel Barbados Rum
    • ¾ oz. Luxardo maraschino liqueur
    • 1 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
    • ¾ oz. freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
    • ¼ oz. simple syrup
    • 1 lime wheel, for garnish
    • 1 Filthy Black Cherry, for garnish
    • Pour the rum, liqueur, juices, and syrup into a mixing glass. Add large cold ice cubes and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the lime-cherry “flag” (a citrus wheel skewered with a Filthy Black Cherry).

Rum Dragon at Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa — Fort Lauderdale, FL

Nestled along a quarter-mile stretch of pristine private beach (the largest in South Florida!), Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa effortlessly blends laid-back tropical tranquility with signature Marriott service. Exclusively available at 3030 Ocean – the resort’s acclaimed American seafood restaurant – the Rum Dragon brings the taste of tropical temptation to life by mixing locally sourced seasonal ingredients with Barcardi Superior Rum and the unmistakable floral flavors of St-Germain.

  • Rum Dragon: 
    • ½ dragon fruit cut in square/ chunks ( hold 1 piece for garnish )
    • 2 ounces of Bacardi Superior Rum
    • 1 ounce of St Germain
    • 1 ounce of squeezed lime juice
    • 1 ounce of simple syrup
    • 2 slices of Jalapenos ( 1 slice to be muddled & 1 slice for garnish )

Casual Drinking Water at Streamsong Resort – Bowling Green, FL

Named after the water that accumulates on a golf course that is not hazardous, Casual Drinking Water pays the perfect homage to Streamsong Resort, the luxury Central Florida golf destination featuring three widely acclaimed golf courses. Nestled amid 16,000 acres of stunning nature escapes and seclusion, the resort’s signature cocktail blends three smooth rums with tropical undertones, making it the ideal libation to follow up a round of golf with those you love under the Florida sun.

  • Casual Drinking Water:
    • 1 oz Appleton Rum
    • 1 oz Triple Sec
    • 0.5 oz Orgeat
    • 1 oz Lemon Juice
    • 1 oz Pineapple Juice
    • 3 dashes of tiki bitters
    • Strain over ice and top with a Myer’s Dark Rum floater
    • Garnish with a dehydrated lemon

Mai Tai at The Brown Palace Hotel & Spa – Denver, CO

The Forbes Four Star, AAA Four Diamond luxury landmark, The Brown Palace Hotel & Spa, is located in the heart of downtown Denver. Having played host to presidents, celebrities and royalty for more than 128 years, The Brown is known as one of the city’s oldest and most prestigious businesses. Since the hotel’s opening in 1892, historic dining options such as Churchill Bar and Palace Arms have had years to master the art of mixology, crafting unique and bold cocktails while never straying from the classics. Churchill also offers a selection of over 60 cigars for every connoisseur’s palate, while the historic Palace Arms offers a menu of exceptional farm fresh cuisine. When it comes to timeless liquors like rum, the classic Mai Tai simply cannot be beaten. Years of experience yield mouthwatering results to be enjoyed in the most historic setting in downtown Denver.

  • The Mai Tai
    • 1 oz Santa Teresa 1796Rum
    • 1 oz Appleton Estate Signature Blend Rum
    • 0.5 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
    • 0.5 oz Giffard Orgeat
    • 1 oz Lime Juice
    • 0.25 oz Simple Syrup
    • 1 Dash Angostura Bitters
    • Add all ingredients to a mixing tin. Add ice and shake for 5-7 seconds to medium dilution. Double strain into rocks glass over ice.

The Fog of River North at Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago – Chicago, IL

Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago has quickly become one of the best luxury hotels in Chicago and downtown’s most desirable address. Offering awe-inspiring views of Chicago’s prized architecture, the winding Chicago River and Lake Michigan. The Fog of River North, a cocktail offered at Terrace 16 — the new American rooftop restaurant in Chicago — captures the spirit of the city and is named after the advection fog that is most prevalent over Lake Michigan. When the water is cool and a warm, moist air mass meets the lake forming a thick fog that drifts over the city.

  • The Fog Of River North
    • .5 oz Kasama Rum
    • .5 oz Aperol
    • .5 oz Lemon Juice
    • .5 oz Simple Syrup
    • Finish with a Splash of Prosecco
    • Using a rocks glass add in a large square piece of crafted ice, add equal parts of each ingredient over the ice and stir all ingredients to make this refreshing summer cocktail.

Lemon Verbena Mojito at Trump International Golf Links & Hotel Doonbeg, Ireland – Doonbeg, IE

Luxury accommodations, breathtaking views, and unparalleled service await you at Trump International Golf Links & Hotel Doonbeg. Trump’s Bar & Restaurant rests at the heart of the Hotel. This unique bar & restaurant is celebrated for its atmospheric warm ambience, a place that welcomes locals, guests and golfers alike. Indulge in a hearty meal and sip on the Lemon Verbena Mojito. This refreshing cocktail made using lemon verbena that is grown outside Trumps Bar & Restaurant best enjoyed while over looking the spectacular backdrop of Trump Doonbeg Golf Courseand the unmatched views of the shimmering sea waves of the Doughmore Beach with the majestic cliffs of Moher in the distance. 

  • Lemon Verbena Mojito
    • 10-12 lemon verbena leaves
    • 2 lemon slices
    • 1 oz. lemon juice
    • 1 1/2 oz. of whiterum
    • A splash club soda
    • Garnish with a slice of lemon and verbena leaves
    • Muddle verbena leaves, lemon slices, and 1 ounce of Lemon Juice in a shaker. Add whiterumand ice and shake vigorously. Pour into tumbler and top with club soda.

The Kessler Collection:

With rum being the oldest spirit in the world, the Kessler Collection has infused this timeless classic into a few fun cocktails at specific hotel locations for guests and locals alike!

  • Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando — Orlando, Fla. 
    • Rum Old Fashioned:
      • 1 1/2 oz Ron Zacapa 23
      • Brown sugar syrup
      • 2 dashes Angostura Bitter
      • 1 dash Black Walnut
      • Build all ingredients into tin. Stir until chilled. Strain into glass over large cube. Garnish with an orange wedge in a sugar cane skewer. Floater of Malibu to finish.

  • Casa Monica Resort & Spa — St. Augustine, Fla.
    • The Augustine:
      • 1 1/2 oz St Augustine Rum
      • 1/2 oz Triple Sec
      • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
      • 1/2 oz raspberry puree
      • Splash of water.

  • Bohemian Hotel Celebration – Celebration, Fla. 
    • Caribbean Breeze:
      • 1.25oz Flor de Cana Rum
      • 2oz Pineapple Juice
      • .5oz Jalapeño Simple Syrup
      • Garnish: Two Jalapeño Wheels
      • Floater: .25oz Malibu Coconut
      • Mix all ingredients together, strain into fresh ice in Rocks glass. Garnish with two Jalapeño wheels in drink. Floater of Malibu to finish.

  • Grand Bohemian Hotel Mountain Brook — Mountain Brook, Ala. 
    • Bohemian Rum Punch:
      • 2 oz Flor de Cana 12 year Rum
      • 1 oz Orange juice
      • 1 oz pineapple juice
      • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
      • .25 oz of grenadine
      • 3 dashes of orange bitters
      • Garnish with an orange slice/luxardo cherry flag

Coco Tiki Tai by Bungalows Key Largo — Key Largo, FL

The luxury, adults-only Bungalows Key Largo, celebrated its grand opening this past December, as the first and only all-inclusive resort in the Florida Keys. The boutique, waterfront oasis features 135 private bungalows dotted across the property’s 12 acres,1,000-feet of shoreline with countless beach cabanas and a full-service Zen Garden Spa featuring a Himalayan salt room + eucalyptus steam room. Though what truly sets Bungalows Key Largo apart is the taste-tempting dining experiences and signature cocktails crafted by the resort’s house mixologists. In these trying times, Bungalows is happy to share the famed recipe of their Coco Tiki Tai, offered at each F&B outlet, which can easily be made + enjoyed at home.

  • Coco Tiki Tai:
    • 1 ½ oz Coconut Rum
    • 1 oz Amaretto
    • 4 oz Orange Juice
    • 2 oz Pineapple Juice
    • Combine all ingredients into a shaker and mix vigorously. Pour ingredients into a Collins glass filled with ice, and garnish with a pineapple and/or orange.


Dragonberry Mojito at Pelican Grand Beach Resort — Fort Lauderdale, FL

Delivering the flavor of paradise while welcoming warm temperatures and ultimate relaxation, the Dragonberry Mojito is making waves in the yachting capital of the world at Pelican Grand Beach Resort – one of the only true beachfront, boutique resorts on Fort Lauderdale beach. A mix of Old Florida grandeur coupled with seaside elegance offering a coastal-chic waterfront retreat, Pelican Grand offers everything from fresh culinary creations at OCEAN2000 Restaurant & Lounge and Fort Lauderdale’s only lazy river to indulging in personalized pampering at the Scandinavian-inspired PURE Spa and shopping on Las Olas Boulevard – guests are surprised by the unrivaled location of this laid-back luxe retreat set amongst the soothing sights and sounds of the Atlantic Ocean

  • Dragonberry Mojito: 
    • 1.5 oz Bacardi dragonberry rum
    • 0.75 oz pomegranate juice
    • 6 slices of fresh lime or 1.0 oz fresh lime juice
    • 6 leaves of fresh mint
    • Muddle 4 slices of lime and 4 leaves of fresh mint, add rum and pomegranate juice. Shake and strain over ice in a traditional highball glass. Garnish with fresh lime & mint

Boston Food & Hotel Guide

Is there anything better than eating all the new yummy food on vacation? I literally plan trips entirely around good food so when my mom suggested visiting Boston to see my brother I was 100% on-board. Boston is known for it’s fresh and eclectic mix of restaurants and they didn’t disappoint. Before I jump into all the places we ate at, let’s talk about hotels. We stayed at The Newbury which just underwent a massive multi-million dollar renovation and reopened at the end of May. It originally opened in 1927 as one of the first Ritz Carlton hotels in the United States. The Newbury is stunning; I love all the modern decor and would 100% stay here again. The location is ideal right across from the park – request a room overlooking the park. You won’t regret it! The views are phenomenal.

Aside from eating we had a lot of time to explore. We walked The Freedom Trail one morning and followed it down to the Boston Public Market, checking out some landmarks along the way. I was told that George Howell was the best coffee in Boston and they were right. Get the Vanilla Lavender Iced Coffee and thank me later. The weather was gorgeous the weekend we were up (early June) so we did a ton of walking. I love the original buildings and all the rich history. Alright, now onto the reason you’re here: the food. Let’s get to it after the jump.

Fox & The Knife – Located in South Boston and pro tip: take an Uber or Lyft because parking took forever to find. Start off with a glass or two of the Frosè, it was to die for. All their plates are shareable and we split the Fried Chili Chickpeas, House made Ricotta and Prosciutto, Grilled Octopus, Whole Branzino, Crispy Pork and Strawberry Rhubarb Crostata.

Saltie Girl – A cute little lunch spot that my mom and I stopped at after checking into the hotel. It’s only a few blocks away from the Newbury and such a pretty walk. I ordered a selection of the raw oysters which were so flavorful and unique. It was also my first time eating a Shaved Rainbow Carrot Salad (with fried quinoa, avocado, roasted sesame seeds, cilantro, date syrup, sesame dressing) and I was in shock how much carrots filled me up. Terri got the Boston Lettuce Salad (shaved vegetables, cider vinaigrette). It was the perfect late lunch to have before dinner.

Select Oyster Bar – If there is Octopus on the menu I will order it every damn time. Let me tell you, Boston delivered when it came to the octopus, oysters and all the other seafood I consumed. My favorite octopus was at Select Oyster Bar. We loved it so much we ordered 2 servings. The muscles and oysters were also prepared to perfection. This was a fantastic lunch spot and it’s right next door to Krasi.

Krasi – We seriously had the best experience here. The staff could not have been friendlier, all the ingredients were so fresh and the atmosphere was incredible. The standout dish from our visit was the Makaronada (lobster, hilopites, squid link breadcrumbs). If I lived in Boston I would eat here weekly. This is 100% authentic Greek dining to a T. Even all their wines were Greek, as was our server. Definitely make a reservation on Open Table ahead of time so you can get in!

Committee – Yet another fabulous Greek restaurant but this time I got to experience Greek brunch. Holy moly it was fantastic. Incredible ambiance, really fresh ingredients, great cocktails and great brunch music. Get the Shakshouka to share [eggs baked in a pan of spiced tomato sauce, peppers, onions with feta and pita] and the Zucchini Crisps. I could have eaten 100 of those dipped in the sweet onion yogurt.

Inside The Newbury is their rooftop restaurant Contessa and The Street Car, located downstairs off the lobby. The decor in Contessa is a literal work of art. Every single piece of furniture and tile is so rich and gorgeous it’s a visual masterpiece. Contessa wasn’t quite open when we were there but we eat at The Street Car our last night and the baked oysters were my favorite from the entire trip. The service was also excellent not just at the bar but also throughout the hotel. My mom and her husband have already booked a stay again at The Newbury for this coming Fall.

If you’ve been to Boston what were some of your favorite spots? Let me know for my next trip!

The Ultimate Glamping Ranch to Visit In Your Lifetime

Sometimes I feel that the older Henry gets, the harder it is for us to connect. He will be turning 9 in a few weeks and it’s crazy how fast these years have flown by with my first born. I’ve never taken a trip solo with only Henry and I regret that I waited until this year to do so. This April we had the amazing opportunity to visit Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo in Central Florida. It was one of the most memorable vacations of my life that I will cherish forever. This time with Henry brought us so much closer and writing this post and thinking of our time together brings tears to my eyes. I know he will treasure the memories we made there, the experiences he had and the people he met. 

If you’re wondering why you might not have heard of Westgate River Ranch, don’t be surprised. It’s a hidden gem about 90 minutes south of Orlando and sits on 1,700 acres of protected land overlooking the Kissimmee River. It truly is an amazing piece of wilderness and I felt so relaxed the entire trip. When booking a stay at Westgate’s dude ranch in Lake Wales I highly recommend a stay in one of the Luxury Glamping Experiences. These include a stay in the Conestoga Wagons, Luxe Teepees, Luxury Glamping, or Glamping and cover all resort activities (over a dozen!) Horseback riding, trap & skeet shooting, airboat rides, archery, swamp buggy rides, VIP rodeo tickets and more. There really is something for everyone of all ages to enjoy. In addition to the activities included with your luxury accommodations, breakfast is served to your room daily and you’re given a golf cart to use for your entire stay. Henry’s favorite activity was the swamp buggy, horseback riding, archery, bike riding, the rodeo and street party. It was a non-stop weekend which we definitely made the and we still didn’t get to do everything Westgate River Ranch offers. 

At check in you are given a s’mores kit to enjoy by the communal fire pits near your room (if you are staying in one of the luxe accommodations). They are also available to purchase throughout the property at the front desk, general store and the saloon. Outside of the Conestoga Wagons is a great open space with a fire pit, adirondack chairs, corn hole, a covered pavilion with dining tables and a seating area. Henry made friends with some other kids who were visiting and he had the best time playing with them before bed. The families we met were traveling as a group and they rented the wagons specifically for the kid-friendly family resort vibe that Westgate offers. We saw the families cooking out and cousins playing several times throughout the day. Westgate River Ranch is a great spot if traveling with a large group as well because the property is so spacious and there is no shortage of activities. 

Henry and I stayed in one of the new Conestoga Wagons and it was such a unique experience. There is a king bed, pull out couch, set of bunkbeds, mini fridge, microwave, kitchen sink, heating and A/C, plenty of electrical outlets and modern decor. Breakfast was delivered to our wagon every morning and Henry loved going out each morning and grabbing it from the breakfast box. The resort is also very well kept and was always clean and comfortable. The staff could not have been friendlier and when booking a luxe accommodation a personal glamping concierge is available to help you with anything you may need during your stay. 

The Rodeo was truly a once in a lifetime experience. It was Henry’s and my first time and the show was incredible. We loved all the amazing tricks, music, beautiful horses and music. There was also bull riding which was so impressive to see live. I’ve never seen a cowboy in action and it was an experience for sure. After the Saturday night Rodeo be sure to stick around for the street party which includes line dancing, outdoor movies, an inflatable mechanical bull, zip line, bungee jumps and a rock wall. 

No travel post is complete without highlighting the food. The Westgate Smokehouse grill served up phenomenal dinners every night ranging from steak and lobster to BBQ. Inside the General Store is a variety of food, toiletries, household items, a Starbucks coffee, a deli and plenty of nostalgic candy. It’s ideal if you are staying for a short weekend or longer because everything you could need it on property. Westgate also offers catering services if you’re staying with a large group like family reunion, wedding, conferences and meetings.

If you are looking for a one of a kind lifetime experience that your kids will remember forever, Westgate River Ranch is the place that makes it happen. I will never forget this amazing time I was able to spend with Henry and cannot wait to visit again with both kids.

My Favorite Sunscreen!

As I’ve gotten older I have embraced my fair skin and paleness. In fact, I love it. I don’t like being tan and think it looks weird and unnatural on me. I used to try all the self tanning products and get spray tans but they would make me look dirty and orange, haha. The past few years I have been using most of the sunscreens in this post and can 100% say they’ll be in my skincare rotation for the rest of my life. I wear them on my face, neck, chest, arms and hands daily and never have any issues with piling under makeup or rubbing off on clothes. 

I have tried a ton of different sunscreens out there but they are not created equal. Instead of throwing them out if I don’t like how they feel under my makeup, I keep them in my car and use them on my hands, arms and chest. I’m looking at you SuperGoop! and Burt’s Bee’s Renewal Day Lotion (great for hands, not for under makeup. It was a piling nightmare). After many SPF fails I’m happy that I’ve found ones that suit me and my lifestyle the best. Here’s the breakdown of each one!

SkinPharm Clear Defense & Beach Body –  I use these two solely on my arms, hands and chest. They are thicker and a tad more heavy than my lightweight face SPF. They don’t white cast my skin, but I am already pale so I wouldn’t mind even if they did. The high SPF is a huge selling point for me, especially living in Atlanta and when I travel. Started using these in June 2020 and they have not let me down!

EltaMD – Going on over three years with this bad boy! I first tried Elta at my doctors office after getting Botox. The formula is not greasy and it doesn’t leave traces of white on your face. I hate SPF or other skincare products that cause piling because frankly, it ruins your makeup and you have to start over. I have worn the UV SPF 30 Lotion hundreds of times under various foundations and makeup and there has never been an issue. They have dozens of others like tinted SPF and kids sunscreen. I received the Full-Body Spray as a birthday gift a few weeks ago before a Florida beach trip and I was hesitant at first. Typically I do not like spray SPF because they don’t give adequate coverage but this was on the money.

The Target Up and Up Morning Sunscreen is a great comparable SPF to Elta if you are looking for something more budget friendly. This one is actually the generic to CeraVie Ultra-Lightweight SPF and honestly the formula is pretty spot on.  I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference in a blind test and both are under $15.

Do you have certain SPF’s that you love?

48 Hours in Savannah

Savannah is one of the best cities in the South so whenever I can visit I jump at the chance. Now that travel is opening back up in the US, a girlfriend and I headed down for a quick weekend getaway. I hadn’t been back since 2012 so a trip was long overdue. Savannah is such an easy drive from Atlanta and other Southern cities and Spring is the perfect season to start visiting. I asked my audience on Instagram what their must-visit spots were and they really came through. We tried to visit as many as possible but unfortunately, time didn’t allow us to see everything. I am including the top suggestions in this post since they were crowd favorites. Let’s recap! 

Stay:

Mansion on Forsyth Park – My first time staying at this beautiful hotel (Monica actually got married here) and the location could not have been better. Situated directly across from historic Forsyth Park and the famous fountain, the location could not have been better. It’s great for families, couples and bachelorette trips.

The Bath Buttler turndown service was one of the highlights of the stay. There was nothing like coming back to my room after walking (and drinking) for miles and unwinding in a warm bath already drawn. The service includes champagne for two, a drawn bubble bath, plush robes and slippers laid out. I’ve never stayed at a hotel that offered this and it’ll be hard to go back.

Room service is also offered and if you have been following my travel posts for a while you know how much I love room service. It is a deciding factor when booking a hotel. The Mansion hosts afternoon tea which is a must. It’s offered at 1pm and 4pm Friday and Sunday only in the Marble Garden Courtyard. We ate a lot of food in the 3 days we were there and both of us said multiple times that the food served during the tea was some of the best we had the entire trip. Also, the green and white chairs are the perfect photo backdrop!

The Mansion on Forsyth has a fitness center, an outdoor heated pool, art gallery, bike rentals, valet, is pet-friendly and offers champagne upon arrival. *YES PLEASE*

Rooftop Bars in Savannah:

Myrtle & Rose Rooftop Garden – Check out their jazz brunch for shareable plates, live music and craft cocktails.

The Lost Square – Catch all the riverfront panorama views on this rooftop perched at the top of The Alida Hotel. From seasonal cocktails to craft beer and small plates, this spacious rooftop is perfect for larger groups.

Peregrin – This is a roof deck in the Perry Lane Hotel and the views are stunning. Take a look at their Instagram for scenery and cocktails. A must for sunset happy hour!

Where to Play: 

House of Strut for the best vintage shopping and unique pieces. I found 3 things that I love – 2 of which are for my 31 Days of Halloween series. The ladies are so fun and helpful and it’s woman owned! I love supporting small shops so definitely pop in here. 

The Paris Market – Probably the most famous store for shopping in all of Savannah. They have the best finds from vintage one of a kind to home accessories to gifts, babies, women, and more. They also have a coffee shop and bakery and you can easily spend a few hours here.

City Market  – An outdoor shopping and eating experience surrounded by bistros, galleries, local musicians and seasonal events. 

Spa Bleu – I only got one recommendation for a spa and I was told it was one of the best massages she has had in her life. That’s a pretty strong statement so I take her word!

Plant Riverside District – Entertainment, nightlife, shops, galleries, daily events and so much more.

Bonaventure Cemetery – If you’re weird like me you will love this historic cemetery. If you are normal you will also love this cemetery. It’s one of the most famous in the world and also featured in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. There are guided tours or you can explore it on your own. You can also drive through it which is a perk especially when creating a spooky picnic. This styled shoot by my friend Monica is one of my favorites! Photo & Styling credit: Hello Fancy Media

Eat:

700 Drayton – Located right next door to the Mansion on Forsyth. I love their outdoor patio and spacious indoor dining room. Executive Chef Daniel Herget brings a coastal flair to the kitchen and his brunch is what dreams are made of.

The Grey – Without a doubt this was the most recommended restaurant in all of the suggestions. Reservations are released on the first of every month and they go quick! The Grey is on RESY so set an alarm when the time comes to book. I didn’t get a chance to go but based on the responses and their Yelp rating, I’m pretty sure it’s a winner. 

The Olde Pink House – I had a friend get married here back in 2011 but haven’t been back since. It’s still super popular and a ton of my followers recommended it. It’s one of those iconic Savannah landmarks that is a must visit, even if only for a photo out front. 

Husk – Right next to Collins Quarter. While we were waiting for a dinner spot we had drinks at Collins. When we finally received our text it was such an easy maneuver. We sat upstairs at the bar and ordered the massive charcuterie plate which had local sausages and some great cheeses.

The Collins Quarter – Several people said this was a great brunch spot. We had drinks here and loved them. There is a bartender who looks like Jack White who makes one of the best classic Daiquiri’s I’ve ever had. I also loved their house cocktails. No matter when we passed by, it was always packed so clearly the food can hold its own. 

The Wyld It was a little chilly in early March but I cannot wait to get back and have some seafood on the dock overlooking the causeway. Everyone recommends the Painkiller cocktail, so grab one! 

Treylor Park – Another top recommendation from the angels of Instagram. From seasonal cocktails to craft beer, Treylor Park is a unique space with indoor and outdoor dining, a beer garden and live music.

Back in the Day Bakery – This bakery offers traditional southern pies, famous banana pudding, sweet potato biscuits, kaiser buns, and bourbon bread pudding to name a few. I am salivating as I write this and I’ve never even eaten there so I’m excited to try these delicious breads.

Little Duck Diner – Another popular spot but for all the best reasons. The Lavender Bubble Bath Bellini comes with a rubber ducky on top and honestly that is pretty cute! They don’t take reservations and apparently brunch is pretty crowded so go at night for 4th meal.

Pizzeria Vittoria – This is a relatively new spot and when we arrived we had no idea it was located in this really cool outdoor food truck park with a live band, stand alone restaurants, really nice bathrooms (I strongly feel like this needs to be mentioned), beer, cocktails and desserts. We went for a late night snack and would have stayed longer if we weren’t so tired. 10/10 recommend.

Zunzi’s – Get the Oliver’s Lunch and when they ask if you want to sauce it up you have to say “Shit Yeah!” – Someone said “literally asking that this be my last meal if I’m ever on death row” – haha!

The Fitzroy – I’m a big fan of places that take reservations and this one was on Open Table and had a last minute booking. It has a small rooftop and several dining rooms. The food was so delicious and affordable and the staff was so pleasant. A great last minute find!

Cocktails & Coffee: 

Peacock Lounge – An intimate hideaway with a speakeasy vibe. Pro tip – get there when they open or else you’ll be elbow to elbow with the later crowd. 

Artillery – Possibly the most beautiful bar in Savannah with the best craft cocktails. Arrive early and sit at the bar, it’s first come first serve and they do not take reservations. Order a classic Daiquiri followed by the La Niña Fresa (pineapple rum, house made tepache, lime), you’ll thank me later.

The Public – Located next door to Artillery and equally as fun (same owners). Also first come, first serve. We sat at the bar and had really great French 75’s during happy hour. Their fries are delicious!

Gallery Espresso – One of the few coffee shops open until 10pm and they have really good pies and cakes. They also have rotating art shows featuring local artists.

Gryphon Tea Room is a fun place if you want an authentic tea time. It’s across the street from ShopSCAD which is also a great little shopping spot that sells art from students, alumni, and faculty.

The Coffee Fox – This is right across from the Paris Market. The menu was so appealing that I couldn’t choose one so I got the Horchata Latte (GAME CHANGER) and the Mexican Mocha. Both were out of this world and I would make the drive to Savannah just to drink them.

Alright, friends – That is my full recap on the beautiful Savannah. If you have any recommendations to add to this post, leave them in the comments below! Thank you to the Mansion on Forsyth for hosting us and being so charming. I can’t wait to return 🙂

Help Your Child Fall in Love with Reading

Evelyn has been learning sight words this year in kindergarten and also learning to read. She is having the best time reading books that I used to read to her (bittersweet sad face).  It’s been so heartwarming watching her learn and I love that she is embracing reading. Henry has been immersing himself in books for a few years now and really enjoys it. If your kids are close to starting school, you can visit https://sisd.ae/ to give your children the best learning experience.

Growing up, I loved reading and I’m sad to say I don’t spend as much time as I could getting lost in a new book. My kids have actually inspired me through their love of reading which is so ironic. Aren’t we supposed to be the ones influencing them? 🙂 I introduced both my children to books at a very young age. Instead of toys one year I made an Amazon wish list of books to build their library and it was one of the greatest things I’ve ever done. That enabled them to appreciate books early on and make looking at words and flipping through pages a habit. These days I don’t need to push reading because I will find them both at times doing it on their own. Now that my kids are getting older they are into chapter and history books, especially Henry. He really gets lost in a story be it fact or fiction.

Finding new companies that enhances my kids love for reading really makes me happy. In The Book is an amazing website that offers a range of books from educational, Disney, personalized fairy tales, Thomas and Friends and Marvel, all of which can be personalized. The books come in beautiful luxury keepsake boxes which adds to the gift experience. In The Book has book options for babies, toddlers, school age, teenagers and even adults. The website is so easy to use and available in US currency as well as GBP, EUR, AUD and CAD. You can find books by age, gender, type, or by a favorite character. I love that I was able to personalize these for the kids (you can inscribe any message as long as it’s 80 characters). Their name appears on the cover of the book and there is also a picture of them included inside. Henry and Evelyn got such a kick out of those features since they’ve never had a book like that before. It’s worth mentioning that all books from In The Book are made from responsibly sourced paper from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper manufacturers.

The Disney Princesses Collection is a 100-page picture book with 11 official princess stories featuring Aurora (aka “Sleeping Beauty”), Ariel (aka “The Little Mermaid”), Belle (aka “Beauty and the Beast”), Cinderella, Jasmine (aka “Aladdin”), Merida (from “Brave”), Moana, Mulan, Pocahontas, Rapunzel (from “Tangled”), Snow White and Tiana (aka “The Princess and The Frog”). I chose the Marvel Infinity Saga for Henry which covers the entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in chronological order over 188 pages. When I say that he is obsessed, I mean he hasn’t put the book down since it arrived in the mail. He loves learning about all the characters and history. At under $50 these books make incredible gifts for birthdays, the holidays and even baby showers. I am so glad the kids have these for the collection and to pass down to their own children one day!