Red Sand Beach, Hana, Maui

As I’m lounging in bed this lovely Sunday morning, my kids playing as I’m gazing out the window at the gorgeous sunshine reflecting on the roof tops covered with snow it’s a good start to my day right? It would be except there’s SEVENTEEN inches of snow in my backyard and I begin asking myself what am I doing here?

I’ll be thinking warm thoughts the next few days and what better place to escape to than Hawaii (I’m OBSESSED) but since I have three littles I won’t be hopping on a plane any time soon so the next best thing is reliving our Maui escape four months ago.

This beach was one of our absolute FAVORITE. It’s not the typical beach where you think of miles of white sand instead it’s a small cove nestled between two ginormous cliffs.

Think paradise lost…well this is paradise found.

RED SAND BEACH was our last stop on our Road to Hana trip, this beach is off the beaten path. My heart is pounding and my palms sweating just thinking about the path we walked along the cliff, it’s definitely not for the faint at heart.

The first sight of the beach took your breath away. We couldn’t wait to make our way down the cliff! Everyone was heading out as we arrived. We probably should’ve turned around but we couldn’t resist the chance of experiencing this little little gem all to ourselves. Ah the feeling of a private beach, it was pretty awesome.

And then just like that we felt a few drops of rain as If the path wasn’t treacherous enough. With each step we litterally felt the night coming down upon us and we hurried back to safety, laughing like two kids as we made it to the car just in the nick of time before it started raining.

It was quite scary but DEFINITELY worth the trip!

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

~TOODLES~
Stacey

Advertisements

An Old Town Christmas 2015

Alexandria lies just a few miles from the Nation’s Capital though it may take you quite a while to make the drive. I like the feeling you get when walking the streets of Old Town. It evokes a quaint village feel. Boutique shops, charming hotels and fine dining can be found at every corner.

Few weeks ago, I wanted to visit for the Christmas Parade on the Potomac River and witness Alexandria coming to life for the Christmas season but of course everyone hosts their tree lighting at the same time so we missed it.

Hubby was off from work on this lovely afternoon in early December when we made our way into the city. I am always dragging him places whenever given the opportunity. Just like the kids, he’ll thank me later. πŸ™‚

We dined at Pizzeria Paradiso AGAIN. I suppose it’s our new place to eat. What can I say…they make some really good pizzas and you can even customize it if that tickles your fancy.

Last time we visited I promised my daughter a ride on the trolley and I was able to fulfill this promise. Seeing the joy and excitement on her face was more than I could’ve asked for. She got a kicker out of ringing the bell at EVERY stop., thank goodness for the trolley operator’s patience.

I must admit, King Street wasn’t as decorated as I thought it would be but it’s definitely worth a trip. If for nothing else, it offers fine shopping at boutique shops and big brand stores as well. It’s a lovely stroll but on those colder nights a tour from the comfort of a heated transport doesn’t hurt either. The trolley ride is free and very informative. It tells of Alexandria’s history as you drive along the way. So grab a cup of Joe or hot apple cider and hop on!

If this post didn’t get you excited about a trip to Alexandria, check out this Alexandria’s Presidential Appeal Article featured in the latest issue of AAA World Magazine, perhaps that will do the trick.

image

image

image

BTW I forgot my phone in the car thus no pics while we rode the trolley.

~TOODLES~
Stacey

A Short Pump Christmas

One of my favorite places to visit in Richmond is the Short Pump Town Center I can see you rolling your eyes and thinking…IT’S JUST A MALL, but if you’ve been there you’ll probably agree.

I love this place even if it is an outdoor mall! We often laugh about this because it does get cold in Richmond, but thankfully its been unseasonably warm this year; hence, my visit in December.

I don’t know what it is about this place; I don’t know if it’s being able to smell the fresh air and soak in the sunshine while you walk from store to store or having the opportunity to sit down in one of the many conversation areas and enjoy a cup of Starbucks or ice cream, depending on the weather. Whatever it is, I always enjoy watching the transformation in preparation for Christmas and this year was no exception!

So here we are during my girls-only weekend to Richmond; my mother-in-law joined us for the trip. I was glad she did; it was nice not having to chase after both girls.

image

image

Watching my oldest face light up as we rode around the Town Center was definitely worth the wait in the LONG line (well, Grandma waited in line) while the girls and I played in our favorite store, Pottery Barn Kids. It’s probably more my favorite place than theirs, but I never get any complaints while they play with these lavish kitchen sets and one of a kind toys.

image

image

image

Today was a great day with the girls.

image

 

image

image

image

image

image

image

I love this place!

~TOODLES~
Stacey

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s Christmas Wonderland 2015

image

The moment you walk through the double doors of the visitor’s center you are captured in the spirit of Christmas.

This year’s H2Whoa-themed Gardenfest of Lights is a delight. It’s a spectacular display of more than half-a-million lights adorning the gardens. The Kelly Education Center (library) boasts an impressive one-of-a-kind model train display. The kids will love watching the train; be prepared to stay a while.

When you think of Christmas, name three things that pop into your head? SANTA CLAUS, FAMILY and CHRISTMAS MUSIC. There could be a few others, but I am speaking of the latter.

As we strolled through the gardens taking in the sights we realized it was missing that transformational aspect…MUSIC. Β Music has that ability of transcending us to another moment in time and that’s what we needed. How can you have Christmas without Christmas music?

Nothing says Christmas like hearing the sounds of “Jingle Bells, or “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”, or “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”, or Luther Vandross’ “Every Year, Every Christmas” or Stevie Wonder’s “Someday at Christmas” or The Temptations’ Silent Night or Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” or Danny Hathaway’s “This Christmas” or Boyz II Men “Let It Snow” featuring Brian McKnight. It would’ve been a real Christmas miracle if it snowed this year but you get my drift…THERE WAS NO MUSIC!

It’s not often that I complain about anything at the renowned Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden because they usually think of EVERYTHING, but not this time.

If you’ve visited or plan to visit this spectacular lights display, please share your thoughts about the music, or lack thereof. You have until 11 Jan 2016 before the lights go out!

image

image

My kids trying to blow out the fire, thanks to their auntie.
image

image

image

image

image

Always so studious
image

image

A rare moment with his Grandma.
image

image

image

Happy Holidays!!
image

~TOODLES~
Stacey

Christmas Parade 2015

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

 

The weather has been absolutely AH-MAZING! All the more reason to pack the kids up and enjoy the outdoors while it lasts…after all we are talking high 50’s in December!

The kids and I made the drive down to Richmond, VA for the Hanover Christmas Parade. A first not only for them, but also for me. This isn’t your typical parade with gigantic floats; this is a local affair with tractors, ponies, classic cars and even ingenious ones.

I was so proud of the kids as they waved to the paraders and my oldest yelled Merry Christmas. They were rewarded with quite a bit of candy canes they were actually allowed to eat. I couldn’t say no….it’s all part of the Christmas tradition, right? πŸ˜‰

image

image

image

As the sun drifted off into the horizon the temperatures dropped significantly, but no trip to a Christmas parade is complete without a sighting of Jolly Ole Saint Nick, of course.

My oldest trying to keep up with Grandma as she rushed off to see Santa.

image

Grandma flexed her muscles while waiting in line for Santa.
image

All the little boys and girls cheered loudly for Santa. Their faces lit up with excitement every time Santa asked them what they wanted for Christmas. I was excited to hear what my oldest would ask for. Last year it was a vacation, but this year it was a measly ONE DOLLAR BILL…really? I have work to do!

My son was not a fan of Santa Claus. You know that one kid who screams bloody murder the closer he gets to Santa…yep, that was my boy. Smh

image

Help me, Mommy!
image

image

image

He wanted NOTHING to do with Santa. Perhaps next year will be better when he learns of the magic of Jolly Ole Saint Nick. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. ☺

~TOODLES~
Stacey

Virginia Adventurers

image

image

image

image

image

Some days you just need a change of scenery.

When I left home I had no idea of our destination. The only thing I was certain of was not exploring Washington, DC 🙊 I had a full tank of gas, my DSLR camera, snacks (with three kids, I never leave home without it), a few dollars cash and we drove off into the beautiful sunshine.

It’s been exceptionally warm the past few days and I intend to soak up every last-minute of it before the weather changes, YET again.

During our drive I called my mother-in-law and she suggested Alexandria, Virginia (Old Town to be exact). I’ve driven through here many times but I’ve never hung out here.

The kids and I especially my oldest had a lovely day spending time at Windmill Hill Park, lunch at Paradiso Pizzeria (my daughter insisted), and soaking up some sun at Market Plaza while being serenaded with live music from a master of the fine arts.

She was scared yet intrigued as she listened from a distance.
image

Eventually she had the courage to get closer.
image

King Street is the perfect place for a stroll; the street is lined with cute little boutique shops and restaurants to satisfy whatever it is you’re craving.

image

image

image

Window shopping anyone?
image

It was hard work keeping these kids out of the fountain! On a summer-like day I can’t say I blame them.
image

We were having a jam session to Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk (Jayla’s FAVE song) before an airplane interrupted, hence, Jayla holding her ears.
image

“Mommy, are they having a Halloween party?”
image

We attended a halloween party few weeks ago and now she associates pumpkin with halloween parties.

The food was great, the music a pleasant treat to my eardrum. I would say today was a great day. I hope it was for you, too!

image

image

~TOODLES~
Stacey