Friday, April 22, 2016

Weekly Bits:: VIII

This week was an exciting one for me. Lots of big changes ahead!

Accepted:: A New Job!!
  • Life always has a way of working out just as it should. The past year I have been commuting an hour each way for work, and it has been pretty tough. Two hours of driving a day is not ideal. This past week I was offered a job closer to home and accepted! It is going to be such a great change for me and I cannot wait to embark on this new journey.
Attended:: Cardinals vs. Cubs
  • This was my first Cardinals game of the season! Even though the Cards lost, it was still a beautiful night to watch the game and enjoy some great company.

Cooked:: Spaghetti Squash
  • I've been wanting to give spaghetti squash a shot for a while now. Being the picky eater that I am, however, I was a bit skeptical. I finally tried it this past week and am glad I did! It will definitely be my go-to replacement for noodles in the future.

Dreamed:: About Mexico
  • The first week back at work after a fun vacation is always hard.  Add in a new job offer, and the chances of being productive are slim. I spent the majority of my days this week wishing I was back on the beach working on my tan!


Emily Ann

P.S. I get to see this chunky monkey this weekend and couldn't be more excited! What is better than a chubby baby?!

Love this little guy!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Mexico 2016

My favorite picture of the trip - Tulum
This past week, Michael and I packed up and headed to El Dorado Seaside Suites in Riviera Maya for a short getaway. It was our first vacation with just the two of us, so I could barely contain my excitement! I have loved all of our group trips to places like Las Vegas, the Lake of the Ozarks, and Catfish Bend, but getting to spend a few days away with just each other made this my favorite adventure yet. We had a great time lounging on the beach, sipping on drinks by the pool, and even went on an excursion to Tulum and Xel-Ha.

Here's a little more about our adventure:

We had a 6:00 a.m. flight so we got up around 3:00 to pack up and go to the airport. Unlike my last trip to Mexico, this time we had a direct flight which was amazing. In less than 3 hours, we had landed and were on our way to the resort. Since we booked through a Funjet travel agent this time, we had a private ride to our resort, which was about an hour from the airport. It made the commute from the airport much more enjoyable since we didn't have to stop anywhere along the way.

We arrived at El Dorado around 11:00 a.m., but couldn't check in until 3:00 p.m., so we changed into our swimsuits and went to grab lunch and check out the resort. To be honest, we spent most of the first day being lost. The setup of the resort was very confusing and the building we were staying in wasn't on their navigation map since it was new. After lunch, we found the pool/swim up bar and hung out there until it was time to get checked in.

We freshened up and headed off to find a place to grab dinner since we couldn't make any reservations. We ended up at El Carreta which was the resort's Mexican restaurant. After dinner, we stopped at one of the bars for a couple drinks and hung out on the swings for a while before calling it a night.

We made it!!
And found the beach!
It was so beautiful
Hanging out in our balcony infinity pool!
We got up early and walked down to the Sensimar beach to grab a couple of lounge chairs. Since we are both naturally early risers, we didn't have any problem finding some chairs by the beach, even though they tended to get snatched up pretty quickly in the mornings. We hung out at the beach all morning, went kayaking, played a couple games of darts, ate lunch, and then went back to the pool at our resort.

They played games at the swim up bar every day, so we played a couple games of bingo, sipped a few drinks, and Michael even played some pool volleyball. Our dinner reservations were at six but we lost track of time and ended up missing them. By the time we got to the room, we were exhausted. Michael ordered some room service and we called it an early night.

SO happy :)
We couldn't get enough of the beach!
Never. Want. To. Leave.
This was the day we had our Tulum/Xel-Ha excursion. We went to Tulum first and it was amazing. Our tour guide did a great job of explaining the Mayan Ruins and we got to spend some time exploring the area ourselves. The views were seriously some of the prettiest I have ever seen and the history behind the ruins was unbelievable. It would be so neat to travel back in time (just for a day) and see how they actually lived.

After we finished up at Tulum, we went to Xel-Ha - an absolutely stunning water park. My favorite part of the park was definitely the lazy river through the jungle. It was so neat and I couldn't get over how blue the water was. We also snorkeled, explored a couple caves, and spent some time lounging in the hammock garden.

We got back to the resort around 7 and freshened up to go grab dinner at the Seaside Market. It was definitely my favorite dinner spot that we hit. After dinner, we went back to the room and crashed. It was a very long day for us.

The views were seriously so beautiful!
Selfies at Tulum
Such a neat place 

Snorkeling at Xel-Ha!
Coming out of one of the caves 
Lazy river time!
This was easily my favorite day and I was sad that it was our last one. Once again, we spent the morning down at the Sensimar beach. We enjoyed some drinks and Michael played a few games of beach volleyball - I loved watching (he isn't too shabby!). We ate lunch before going back to the pool at our resort. We sat at the swim up bar and played blackjack and mingled with some new friends from Denver.

Our dinner reservation wasn't until 9:30 so our new friends invited us to join theirs at 6:30. We ate at Klay Talay and then went to the bar in our building for a couple more drinks, some live music, and a bit more mingling. It was just the right mix of beach time, pool time, drinks, and friends. The perfect end to our adventure.

We may or may not have flipped out of one of these swings the first night...
My hot date :)
Drinks with our friends from Denver!
Originally, we had planned to stay at El Dorado Royale, but there was a mix-up on the travel agent's end, and we ended up being booked at Seaside Suites instead. I wasn't too upset about it since they gave us a refund for the price difference and the travel agent raved about how amazing Seaside Suites was.  However, looking back, we should have requested to stay at the Royale since many of our friends have stayed there and loved it. Maybe my expectations for Seaside were just too high, but I definitely didn't love the resort and don't believe we will be going back.

Facility:: Since the Seaside Suites were just built in 2015, everything was supposed to be new, clean, and amazing, but so much of the building was still under construction that it put a damper on how beautiful the resort really was. Our balcony did have an infinity pool, which looked and sounded amazing, but the sun never hit the water so it was freezing cold! We got in it on the first day, but that was it. The view from our room was definitely a great one though!

The view from our balcony

The fact that the resort was adults only was definitely a plus. Last year, I stayed at a family-friendly resort and had a great time, but it does make a huge difference being at an adult only resort. Honestly that is probably the only thing I liked more about El Dorado Seaside Suites over Hotel El Cid Marina from last year.

Beach:: I was SO disappointed in the beach at Seaside Suites. It looked beautiful, but the sand was  actually rocks, and the only way you could get in the ocean without hurting your feet was to wear shoes. We tried to get in it one time and never went back. Seaside Suites borders El Dorado Sensimar Suites, which we also had access to, so we walked down to that beach almost every morning. It was probably a mile+ walk but the beach, food, and activities were so much better.

Food:: To me, the food was pretty mediocre. Breakfast was all buffets and since we liked to spend our mornings at the Sensimar beach, we ate breakfast at Beach Barbeque most days. Michael said that breakfast was his favorite meal we had but I would have to disagree. They had great french toast, but the rest wasn't anything spectacular. We grabbed lunch at the Sandwicherie, Driftwood BBQ Corner and Beach Barbeque. I think the cheeseburger I had at Beach Barbeque was the best thing I had to eat the whole trip - delicious. For dinner, we tried out Seaside Market, Klay Talay, and La Carreta. My favorite was Seaside Market.

We really struggled finding places to eat during this trip. Ten restaurants sound like endless options, yet only one of those restaurants is actually at Seaside Suites. The rest are closer to Sensimar Suites, which is quite the hike from where our room was. You also had to have reservations at several of the dinner places, and we were only able to get 9:00-9:30 p.m. reservations most nights, which was too late for us.

Drinks:: The drinks were all amazing. We discovered the Iceberg on our first day (beer topped with margarita) and it was our go-to drink most of the trip. We also enjoyed the mojitos, frozen margaritas, and good ol' Captain and Diet. They had shots called mini-beers which were delicious, too. I couldn't tell you what was in them but they did look like miniature beers!

I think if we did decide to go back, we would stay at the Sensimar Suites rather than the Seaside Suites. While the buildings aren't quite as new, the setup as far as restaurants, pools, activities, and beach were a lot better than what we experienced at Seaside Suites.


Emily Ann

Friday, April 1, 2016

Weekly Bits:: VII

Read:: What Alice Forgot
  • I started this book back in February, but stopped after the first couple of chapters and never got back around to finishing it. For whatever reason, I just haven't been in the reading mood lately. So, earlier this week, I decided to give it a shot as an audiobook rather than actually reading it, and boy am I glad I did. I am hooked! 
Listened:: Green River Ordinance
  • A couple friends and I headed to Old Rock House last night to check out Green River Ordinance. I have seen them perform live before and loved this time just as much as the previous! Good music, good venue, good company. 
  • These were a big hit at our house. Seriously, so good (and healthy)! I will definitely be making these again in the near future!
Mile Log:: 224 Miles!
  • While I may be slacking on my blog posts, I have not been slacking on getting my miles in. I am up to 224 of my 1,000 mile goal for the year! I've been making sure to get some lunchtime walks in here and there and also running after work as often as possible. I even ran 3 miles this week at an 8:35 pace, which is impressive for me!


Emily Ann

P.S. I am loving these 25 ideas to get your home spring ready.