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A Little R&R in Mexico


As Rachel mentioned last week, this summer has been extraordinarily busy for us.  We worked on our eBook for several months (in addition to our full-time jobs), and my husband is basically out of the country for work until sometime next year.  It has been a crazy time, and I saw an advertisement today that Christmas is only 11 weeks away.  How in the world is that possible?!?  I for one have no idea, but I’m going to save my panic for tomorrow.

In the middle of everything, my little family was able to get away to Cancun, Mexico for a little while.  William and I had not seen my husband in over 5 months, which is much too long.

I don’t know if I will ever fly alone with a 2 year old, though.  Ever.  We talked a lot about planes before we left on our trip, but I think William was expecting a much different experience.  For starters, he could not understand why the airport had so many doors, yet we could not go outside.  I completely understand the confusion.  I did my best to wear him out during layovers, but there is only so much I could do!  He seems to have amazing reserves of energy, and he barely napped on the plane ride down to Mexico.  Unfortunately, he seemed really scared by all of the noise, and he really, really just wanted to go outside.  He cried/screamed “outside” over and over again on the plane.  Random people offered me their cellphones for entertainment.  That’s how bad it was.

Very Brief Nap on the Plane
Very Brief Nap on the Plane

Gathering our luggage and getting through customs both times was no joke because I packed for all three of us.  Thankfully, people seemed to take pity on me, and we had help both here in the U.S. and in Mexico.  We survived!

Watching planes in the airport.
Watching planes in the airport.

Drew met us at the airport.  Our shuttle did not have a car seat, so Drew held William on his lap, sort of.  Below is William catching a breeze on the ride.  It made me nervous, but William loved it!

Riding with Drew
Riding with Drew

We stayed at the Westin Lagunamar.

The Westin Lagunamar
The Westin Lagunamar

This is the same hotel where we stayed in 2010, but I had forgotten how beautiful the beach here is!  We had a mini-kitchen in our room with a full size refrigerator, a microwave, and a stove top.  The pool area of the hotel also offered grills, which made it super easy for us to cook everyday.

Based on what we learned from our trip in 2010, Drew took the bus to Wal-Mart to shop for groceries, and then he took a taxi back to the hotel. He had too many groceries to ride back on the bus.  The round trip took him about 2 hours.  Wal-Mart carried most of the items we needed.

We ate out about four times while we were there, and the food was wonderful and so very fresh.  I could live on the guacamole!  We purposely limited the number of times we ate out, though, to save money and also because eating out with a 2-year old can be pretty stressful.

Infinity Pool at the Westin Lagunamar
Infinity Pool at the Westin Lagunamar

To be honest, most of our time was spent at the pool and the beach.  With views like this, though, do you blame us?  Drew and I were both very tired from the daily grind, and going other places with William, especially in another country, isn’t exactly simple.  Almost everything we were interested in doing required a decent amount of travel, and we just were not up for it with our two year old.  William is at the age where he could play at the pool or beach all day every day and never tire of it.  So, that is what we did!

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Almost every day, though, Drew or I went across the street for Starbucks: coffee for him and iced tea for me.

Starbucks, La Isla Village Shopping Center
Starbucks, La Isla Village Shopping Center

It was an easy walk to the La Isla Shopping Village across the street, where Starbucks was located.  This shopping center is an open air mall with a fun mix of stores ranging from Tommy Hilfiger to Carolina Herrera.  We didn’t do any major shopping while we were there, but it was really fun to look!

La Isla

Here is one view of the shopping center from our hotel: it was literally across the street from us.

View from Hotel

We did buy some chocolate from a store located in the mall: Ah Cacao.  We didn’t try the milk chocolate, but the dark chocolate was wonderful!  It was a little “dry.”  That’s probably not the best way to describe it, but I’ve had dark chocolate that seems waxy, and this dark chocolate was nice and crumbly.  So good!


This mall also had an aquarium in it, and William loved for us to just stop by and let him look at the fish.  Every time we walked over to the mall, we saw quite a few buses, both tourist buses and buses for public transportation on the streets right outside our hotel.  William is obsessed with buses right now.  He’s still talking about seeing all of the buses.  He says: “Dada bus.”

Our entire trip could be summed up in three words: pool, beach, mall.  It was just perfect for us, though.  Here’s a few more family snapshots.

William Swimming

Relaxing (Briefly) in the Pool
Relaxing (Briefly) in the Pool

William and me at beach

William's Favorite Part of the Trip was the Showers to Use After Visiting the Beach!
William’s Favorite Part of the Trip was the Showers to Use After Visiting the Beach!

Leaving Mexico was so hard, especially since Drew and I had to go separate ways.  Drew left the day after William and I left, so he took us to the airport where we said our goodbyes for another few months.

William did not nap at all on the return trip, and on the return trip, we were hit with a flight delay and a timed-out crew.  I wasn’t sure we were actually going to make it home, but fortunately, we did!

During our stay, we had some family photographs made to document William turning 2 years old.  He turned two just a few days before our trip.  I’ll post some of those next week along with a few more details of our trip!

Thank you for reading, and have a great day!


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Wedding Thank You Note eBook Now Available!

Something New: The Bride's Complete Guide to Writing Thank You Notes

***Availability Update***

From October 9, 2014-January 9, 2014, our eBook will only be available in the Kindle store.  In January, we will re-evaluate whether or not to bring it back to the iBooks Store and will let you know what we decide.


You may have noticed that Emily and I have not been blogging much this summer.  That is because we have been….wait for it…drumroll please…working on converting one of our books into an eBook!  Yes, that is correct, our book “Something New: The Bride’s Complete Guide to Writing Thank You Notes” is now available as an eBook in the Kindle Store and in the iBooks Store.  Please check it out and tell your friends who might want help with their thank you notes.  We are so excited!  It was a lot of hard work, and we definitely could not have done it without Joy and Jeff Miller of’s help.  Joy designed our cover (isn’t it fantastic?!) and Jeff converted our book file into the eBook format.  They were both extremely patient with us as we worked through the conversion process.   If you need a book converted into an eBook or need an eye-catching  book cover, we highly recommend Joy and Jeff.

Although we love having our printed book in hand to refer to when writing thank you notes, our eBook offers a different level of convenience for writing thank you notes.  We included our table of contents and index in the eBook with links to every note.  So, if you’re looking through chapters in the table of contents and find a note you want to refer to, just click on the link and it will take you there!  The same goes for our alphabetized index.   And, with a price of only $2.99, it doesn’t get much easier to have thank you note help with you wherever you go.  Download this book on your phone, tablet, or computer, and have it with you always!  We think it is a great companion to the printed book.  If you are thinking about giving our books as a gift, the two printed books and the eBook would make a great bundle!  Here are directions for gifting a book in the iBooks Store, and here are directions for gifting a book in the Kindle Store.

We are researching whether or not there is a good way to convert our book “Something New: The Bride’s Complete Guide to Tracking Thank You Notes” into an electronic version that would be easy to use.  We have considered an app among other things.  If any of you have suggestions on what would be a good format to use, we would love to hear them!




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New Video: The Timing of Wedding Thank You Notes

Hi everyone,

If you have about 1.5 minutes, please check out our newest video!  In it, I discuss when wedding thank you notes should be completed along with what to do if you are just not able to meet that deadline.  Life happens, right?  As I’ve mentioned in the past, some of my thank you notes were sent really late!  Although I am not particularly proud of this, it motivated us to write our book.  I hope you enjoy the video!  We would love to hear your thoughts on it, so please feel free to leave us feedback in the comments.




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Jewelry Coupon Code

Rae La La

Wouldn’t these pearl earrings be great for a bride or mother of the bride?  Well, I have a coupon code that nine of our lucky readers can use on these or any other jewelry they might be interested in purchasing via my online jewelry boutique-RaeLaLa.

What is RaeLaLa and how on earth did I open my own online jewelry boutique?  Well, have you ever heard of Kitsy Lane?  It is an online jewelry company that features emerging designers at up to 60% off retail price.  Kitsy Lane offers accessories ranging from women’s earrings to men’s cufflinks.  It is unique in that it sells its products on its own website and through independent boutique owners.  Anyone can sign up to open their own online boutique at for free.  I recently opened mine and named it RaeLaLa.

Kitsy Lane is currently running a special where boutique owners can offer a set number of people coupon codes.  So, I wanted to share this coupon code with some of our lucky readers.  The first nine people to comment on this blog post with their favorite piece of jewelry for weddings, whether it’s earrings, bracelets, or ornamental headpieces, will receive a $15 off a $45 purchase available to use on my website.  Ready, set, go!  Good Luck!



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Happy Friday Everyone!  I hope you are all looking forward to the weekend.  I know I am. 

Have you ever wanted a portrait of you, your loved one(s), or a beloved pet, but you did not necessarily want to pay the price associated with most portraits?  I am in the same boat.  I knew I would like to get a nice oil portrait of Jordan and me at some point, but I thought that would be many years down the road.   In fact, it probably will be many years down the road.  However, Emily stumbled upon a nice alternative this summer when she and Drew vacationed at the Grand Hotel in Point Clear, Alabama, for a few days-chalk portraits by Arthur Smith!  Arthur Smith is an artist primarily based out of Birmingham, but he spends a good portion of his summers drawing portraits in Point Clear at the Grand Hotel.  His facebook page and his website contain more information about his work, pictures of his work, and his contact information. 

Here is a quick summary of his work.
-Most of his portraits are 16×20 in size.
-A portrait with one person is $100.  A portrait with two people is $150, or you can order two separate portaits for $200 total. 

Although Mr. Smith often draws his portraits while the subjects sit for him in person, Emily and I just gave him pictures from our wedding to use.  In no more than two weeks, he had completed all four of our portraits (Emily and I both ordered two portraits each-one of each of us and one of our husbands).   Prior to completion of our portraits, Mr. Smith also met with us to make sure we were pleased with his work.  Upon our approval, he added some finishing touches to our portraits, and they were complete!

Since the portraits are chalk, Mr. Smith does recommend framing your portraits, including glass and matting.  One day, I might get nicer, more custom frames and mats for my portraits.  However, for now, I just picked out some frames in stock at Michael’s (18x 24 frames) and mats that were in stock as well.  Below are pictures of our portraits.  What do you think?  I am very pleased with them and am so glad Emily found out about Mr. Smith.  It’s not everyday you run across a chalk portrait artist

Have a wonderful weekend!