Tag Archives: marriage

Steelers tried to Ruin my Date Night

So when you achieve certain goals, like marriage, great career, say like having 4 kids; you enter a world very people have lived. There’s no normal. You’re in a perpetual state of a “new” normal.

Fortunately (I think) our daughter’s volleyball tournaments take us all over the country. The boys tend to stay with my in laws, which used to mean the hotel room to ourselves. And you know what that means… Napping. Lots of napping. Except with the baby, since I’m still her food (aka I’m breastfeeding), we can’t “nap” and being by ourselves is just a lot more difficult. This one trip to Richmond, my mom went to and agreed to watch her for a few hours. Soooo, after a quick pumping, we were free to go. IMG_1388

I did not anticipate the Steelers sabotaging my date before it even started.  I mean they didn’t lose, they got destroyed. And being married to one of the biggest Steelers’ fan, meant my night was screwed.

He did try to act like everything was okay. He took me to CineBistro at Stony Point Fashion Park.

It was pretty cool inside. Dark though. Sorta hard to see your menu. IMG_0381I just had to get used to the ambience, obviously not your typical movie theater.  So you can eat while you wait for the movie to start; or once you’re in the theater they’ll be waiters/waitresses ready to take your order and bring you your meal before the movie begins (remember you must arrive 30 minutes before the movie)

While we waited 45 minutes for Jumanji (I love what the Rock is cooking), I decided to have my first drink since well election day (got pregnant that night while on a cruise lol).  There was definitely a lot to chose from.  The Berry Breeze would be my first drink in a year and a half, and it did not disappoint! We ordered some perfectly seasoned wings, which we devoured in minutes lol.

The movie theater wasn’t too big, all seats were great seats basically. The chairs lounged back and were very comfy.

I know when you go to an upscale movie theater, the last thing you order should be popcorn. But I’ve never seen a movie without eating popcorn, and I wasn’t about to start now.  I want to say more about the in theater dining experience, but it was pretty seamless, didn’t take away from the movie experience, which is surprising because everyone in the theater was basically getting their meals at the same time. You would think it would be disruptive but no, it was just well run. IMG_0393(Hubs order a hamburger which he said was fantastic.)

The movie was fun, you really can’t go wrong with the Rock and Kevin Hart, like ever. Afterwards, it seemed like Hubs spirits were uplifted, we played a little chess, laughed even held hands.

But then we turned our phones back on, reality set back in, he became a sad Steelers’ fan and I went back to being a Ravens’ fan secretly laughing inside (Boooo, Steelers !!!)

 

Naomi

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Face your Fears better yet, Embrace them!

Easier said than done, am I right? Recently I’ve seen this in action, from an incredibly strong black woman who you wouldn’t think feared anything… my beautiful mother-in-law.  In September, she married her high school sweetheart. IMG_0112
Their paths diverged while in college.  Both of them are succeeding in their careers. Both of them have personal achievements, he married for decades and had 4 children, now is widowed; she had an amazing child, Brent, who is now my hot and wonderful husband. IMG_0084 From when they were separated, they grew through their separated lives, to the confident people they are today. Despite fears of the past, future, potential judgment of others, they pursued their newfound love. IMG_0034

So Commendable!

As a woman, despite my parents doing the best they can (I mean my dad still calls me his princess) … I have insecurities. While my mother-in-law was branching into real-life unchartered territory, it actually made me realize my fears are so minimal.  I grew up an athlete, pretty much fit, even with previous pregnancies, my body bounced back pretty well.  My mother-in-law’s wedding was 5 weeks after having a baby.  Making motherhood look good is kinda my thing.  Fashion is kinda my thing.  And yet, I was nervous about how I looked. Knowing that no-one would even care, I just was quietly fixated on it.

I’m currently weighing in at 188lbs, but used to hovering at 160lbs,

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NYFW last yr

This meant my dresses no longer fit.  I usually encourage myself to workout and lose weight in an healthy way, by not giving in and buying a larger clothing size.  But obviously, my hand was forced in this event.  First, I can’t or shouldn’t really try to lose weight while breastfeeding, I fear I’d lose my supply.  Second, with four kids and now I’m back to work, I’m really struggling to see when I have the time or energy to workout.  Basically when I’m at work, my hubs has the newborn and when he’s at work, I have the newborn.  I’m sure I’ll figure it out. But for now, what to wear???

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At work the other day, a nurse said while looking at pictures of the newborn, “Don’t worry you’ll lose your belly… why arent you wearing Spanx?” Now, I consider work a safe place to be yourself, after all I’ve dedicated my life to medicine and taking care of patients.  My gut shouldn’t matter.  I definitely felt self-conscious, as everyone then looked at my belly.   I don’t own Spanx but I thought maybe I should invest, save myself from these unsolicited comments.

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As a great personal stylist, to myself lol, I thought, Bold colors, Patterns, the louder the better! I went to my go-to sites, I wasn’t sure of my size, I kinda assumed a 12.  I checked out Rue-la-la, Zara, Gilt, but it wasn’t until ASOS that I hit the jackpot.   Now that I had my blue dress, I had to dress my cute accessories, aka my kids lol.

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3 of the 4 kids

I tried it on, and it fit well! I’m 5’10” and it was perfectly below the knee, the color looked just like the picture, I mean when does that ever happen?!? IMG_0094

So, I felt I looked good, hubs approved, I got compliments at the wedding. All good right? But I looked at some wedding pictures and I was bit horrified.

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You could see the complete lower outline of my gut, and my belly button! (I’m one of those people with an outie, and am extremely self-conscious about it.) I was thinking Oh Why, didn’t I buy some Spanx.

Then I thought…

Motherhood is a blessing.  My body imperfections are a badge of honor. Like my mother-in-law, you got to not only Face your Fears but Embrace them.  And try your darndest not to be paralyzed by them.  Inspiration is everywhere, I hope this post gave you a little.

Naomi

 

 

Rekindling our love, Fogo-style… Our 5th Wedding Anniversary!!!

So it’s hard to celebrate when work schedules do not permit. On our 5th wedding anniversary (Shout out to us!), I was working 12 hr nightshifts and hubs was working during the day.  Since this is pretty normal us, usually happens once a month, we vowed to try to go out together soon.  We exchanged gifts when I got home from work Saturday morning before he went to work.  The theme was wood, as usual Brent, made my gift look just dumb. He got me a carved cutting board, and we’re just not even going to discuss my weak gift, lol.  IMG_2015

Hubs seemed pretty satisfied with yet again destroying me the gift department, and I felt bad vowing to do better next year.

*Just to give you an idea of how stellar he is; 6 yrs ago on Christmas morning, he proposed to me with build-a-bears, dressed with a wedding gown and tux; and I gave him UGG mocassins 😦 *

Apparently our lackadasical attitude was unacceptable to my mother-in-law, and rightfully so.  We’ve been bogged down with life stuff,  kid’s tuitions, baby on the way, new house search… Still as she said so eloquently to me,” that’s no excuse.” So she bought us a Fogo de Chao (brazilian steakhouse) gift card, which also so happens to be our 1st anniversary spot.

2 weeks later, despite the fact the opposite work schedules again, we went on a hot date to Fogo.  To maximize my experience of salad perfection, and fine meat galore, I only ate cream of wheat that morning, oh my stomach was going to be sufficiently empty to take it alllllll in!

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If you haven’t been, and even if you’re a vegetarian, I highly recommend Fogo de Chao.

It is an upscale experience, and somehow made fine dining and buffet synonymous.  In Baltimore, ours is located in the Inner Harbor downtown, right near the water.

How it works: Once you get seated, you’re served drinks of your choosing, then you can immediately start at the beautiful salad bar.

Everything looks so fresh and crisp, you almost dont want to touch it and ruin the display.

Then once seated again, you get a circular card, green on one side and red on the other.  IMG_2214If green side up, the “gaucho” will continue to bring various meat dishes  around, slice the amount you request, and move along. Red side up, means you need a break or you are incredibly full.

My favorite is the bacon-wrapped anything lol.

Delectable pork, lamb, chicken dishes menu here.  Steak options include: Beef Ancho (ribeye), Filet Mignon, Picanha (prime sirloin) and more!

Of course, made room for dessert!

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They were so thoughtful!

So, sufficiently full, we made a pact to do better, make time for each other. Then we rushed home because the teenager was watching her little brothers and had to study for a big test in the morn.

Naomi

Lady Liberty, Oh Yeah, Girl Power!

So it may appear that we try to go to New York every chance we get. And that is only partially maybe mostly true, lol.  This time we had good intentions. I mean you go gotta for the blog, right?

Well, we headed up to Long Island Tech conference but got a little lost and with traffic we got there with 30 minutes left.  But we forgot about the New York Minute which apparently is 7 seconds (according to Sex and the City). So needless to say, everyone had packed up and was leaving by the time we got there.

Well with the sun setting might as well have a quick photoshoot!

(Shop the look!)

With a good 7 hours left in babysitting time, and being 3 hrs away from home, we decided to maximize our New York experience with something I haven’t done since 2 days before 9/11.  Take a little cruise around Manhattan!

Unlike Baltimore, in which everything is no more than 20 min away, from Long Island to downtown Manhattan at 5pm is about an hour. img_0647

Which means the cruise gotta be limited. Don’t worry its New York there’s something for everyone.

We googled Circle Line, the classic one, but it was too long so we went to handy dandy Viator and LonelyPlanet.com and found the NY taxi.  Yeah, I’m totally okay with a quick night Liberty cruise in 70 degree weather on a yacht for the same price as a Circle Line cruise!

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So we amazingly found a parking spot, Pier 16, South Seaport… this is totally meant to be!img_0654

We quickly bought our tickets…

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Shop the Look! 

…and although only 30 minutes before the cruise, Hubs is hungry. Never to fear, New York is known for fantastic food where you least expect it like, El Luchador.

Um, we highly highly recommend, truly great Mexican food with a “So-Cal flair.”

We took our food to go…img_0652

…and rushed back across the street to board the Zephr!img_0660 img_0657The travel guide was utterly hilarious, totally making history fun.

As we went under the amazing bridges like Brooklyn and Manhattan & traveled  down the East River, one couldn’t help but to be in amazement of how the skyline has changed and just all of the people that constructed these buildings we take for granted.

With the recent historic political change,

Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty architecture is not as significant as the meaning behind it.

Just think between 1892 and early 1920s, over 12 millions immigrants came to this country.  Immigrants built this country on their backs, to be apart of something greater. Nowadays the hope associated with immigration has turned into fear and uncertainty (Okay off my soapbox!)

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I’ve never seen the Statue of Liberty up close, at night.  At first, everyone was feverishly taking pics, then people from all walks of life on the cruise, sorta stopped and stared. Although her tablet is the date of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the bronze plaque next to her is Lazarus’ poem “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” Just Awe-inspiring.  Liberty and Justice for all not some…all. (Okay I promise no more emotional talk 🙂

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As you can tell, this Cruise is not only a fantastic last minute or actually planned date option; it offers so much more!

 

Naomi

***Also, per our followers request, we are adding a LookBook feature called “The Look” to the blog which will give details on our outfits, discounts, and more!!!***

 

 

 

 

California Dreamin’: Cuisine Perfection!

So during our trip to California, we definitely ate, like a lot.  It was basically at random. Hubs would ask, “What do you want to eat?” My usual response would be “FOOD!”

So take the food journey with us…

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Day 1: Foxy’s in Glendale, California

After we arrived, checked out the Getty Villa, checked into our hotel, and visited with my brother, I was starving.  It was 10pm (or 1am our time) and McDonald’s just wouldn’t do! So, hopped on Yelp and found Foxy’s.  It is known for American cuisine but also Mexican Flare…img_1203In an effort to soak up the California weather, we ate outside, the atmosphere was wonderful…

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…Service was quite attentive

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We couldn’t get enough of the Bread!
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Hubs had the French Toast & I had the Seared Ahi Tuna

…and the food, well was right on time!

Day 2: The Yardhouse at LA Live

So it was midday, we strolling around downtown near the Staples Center, waiting to see our first 4DX movie (see Brent’s post here)!  Something about this restaurant was calling our name. img_1207

The Yardhouse has high-end American cuisine and is well-known for its beers. So despite our very relaxed attire, in a sea of suits, it was really a fun place to be.img_1208

We sat outside, despite the fact it was a cloudy day it was in the high 70s and unlike Baltimore, no humidity!

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Hubs had the BBQ Bacon Cheddar Burger and I had the Margherita Pizza!

Oh my Gosh, the food was amazing! We had such a good time, we didn’t want to leave!

Later Day 2: Silver Lake Ramen

After we saw Blair Witch (which was event more frightening in 4D), we rested up at the hotel and then we met up with my brother for dinner.  Apparently we just had to eat a Ramen spot on Sunset Blvd. After college, I swore never to eat Ramen again, but as the wonderful smell emanated from the restaurant, I thought, What’s one more time?

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It was quite a wait (only 20 minutes but when you’re hungry it feels like forever lol). I thought to myself these noodles must be amazing, in that there is line of people waiting patiently outside.  In the meantime, next door there was a store opening of a boutique Flirt Culture . So, of course, I had to get me an outfit. Anywho, I digress.  So, the restaurant definitely had that close knit feel.  So as I read the menu, it said “Our Ramen broth soup boiled for 16hrs for richness and taste.”  I thought, Wow! 16 hrs for little ol me?!?

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So, I have no idea what my husband and brother ate, because I was completely enthralled in my meal. I had the Pork Tonkotsu Soup, and it was truly life-changing.

Day 3: Sprinkles

So we had a fantastic day, hanging out in the Apple Store getting my new Iphone 7+ !!! And almost that almost feel second to where we went later… img_0025

A Cupcake ATM by Sprinkles, What da what!?!

Day 4:  Masa of Echo Park 

While in Santa Barbara (see my post here), where we briefly stopped at The Good Cup for a croissant and Lavender lemonade. Yum!

Later that evening, my baby brother (he’s 28, recently obtained his MFA in film directing/screenwriting but still my baby bro), invited me to dinner. So I left hubs in the hotel with football, and went to Echo Park.

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So, this is where you get the best Chicago Deep Dish in town; however my brother had a big interview the following morning, and it takes 45 minutes to make the specialty pizza… So we settled for their incredibly tasty thin crust pizza.  Not many things I’ll settle for but this was worth it!

And the dessert was to die for, we got the bread pudding, which was perfection!

Day 5: Final Day

Well, I’d say this was the day of redos.  We went back to La Live and saw Magnificent 7 in 4Dx.  I absolutely refused to fly home that night without eating again at Silver Lake Ramen, much to my hubs and brother’s chagrin.  But I won that battle, I had to get those Tonkotsu noodles again!  Our last stop before our 11pm flight was to catch a Dodger’s game, and there is nothing like baseball food.

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I feel the food on a vacation is pivotal to the success of the trip.  On this California journey, we were lucky to find so many great restaurants and cafes.  Everywhere I mentioned, we highly recommend!

 

Naomi

AN APPLE A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY!

Well ladies and gentlemen today is September 11th 2016 and is the 15th anniversary of the terrorists attacks on the United States. The lives lost and all those affected are in my prayers and thoughts  always but especially today! Let us never forget.

 

So the saying is an apple a day keeps the doctor away and since that saying clearly describes the relationship between Apple products and good health ill take that advice and hopefully live a long and healthy life!

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This week on friday the 16th at 8am the iphone 7, 7 plus, and Apple watch series 2 go on sale. Each of the new products has top 3 things to know about them and will have full reviews once I can pick mine up on friday morning.

iphone 7 4.7 inch screen  iphone 7 plus 5.5 inch screen

1. water resistannt

2. 256gb model available

3. 7 plus model has 2 cameras on back a wide-angle and telephoto camera lense and a upgraded front facing camera.

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Apple watch series 2

1. built in gps

2. powerful new dual core processor

3. more durable with greater water resistance (50M)

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Apple air pods

1. w1 chip for improved wireless and battery life

2. store and charge pods case

3. auto connection to any of your Apple devices straight out of the box

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Like I said this week will be big for apple fanatics, tech enthusicas, and lovers of innovation. I cannot wait to get my hands on these products and really see the difference!

Until Friday Brent is Signing off

 

DC Swim Week Perfectly “Suits” Me

So last year (pre-blogging era), was the first DC swim week I ever attended. It also so happened to be at DC Swim Week’s first year. But you wouldn’t have known it.  It felt so smoothly run, the venues were perfect, the fashion was amazing … and I’ve got to say the 2nd annual was even better!IMG_0202

I attended the first night, the press reception.  It was an honor to meet the designers, learn their processes, and inspirations.  I realized there is such a global respect in the fashion industry for the District of Columbia, and rightfully so, DC is truly diverse and has so much to offer.

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Cafe Milano

So the reception was beyond welcoming, and although the highlights were the international designers: Banana Moon, Livia – Monte Carlo, and Universal Gear; the venue, Cafe Milano in Georgetown, DC, was absolutely perfect!

Now I’m more of a behind-the-scenes kind of girl.  I was having a conversation with a stunning well-versed woman, Carolyn E. Howell, Director of Sterling Women of Washington, DC, that sort of started off talking about my dress, kids, and ended up with me meeting 2 passionate/enthusiastic entrepreneurs: Derek Nickerson of Poppir and Chris Petrakis of Solebrity; and even the President of DC Swim Week Moh Ducis!  I thought wait a second, I think I’m networking, lol.IMG_0210

Anywho, back to the fashion! The presentations were all beautiful. Immediately made me question my decision to eat all of those delectable hor d’oeuvres.

One may think what’s so special about bikinis? But when it comes to swimwear, especially with women, it doesn’t matter your size, you are quite exposed physically and emotionally.  These designers indubitably had that in mind, with a clear thoughtfulness on fabric, style, color, and most importantly fit.  After all unlike most clothing, it has to maintain its form in wet/dry conditions and with movement. One asks a lot of the bikini if you think about it.

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Simply adored this one

So Brent and I attended the 3rd night at the Penthouse Pool House and Lounge at the Yards.

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The venue was an upscale yet relaxed setting, with a fusion of swimwear and the nightlife that appeared effortless.
DSC_0143DSC_0141It was a warm night that was actually low on humidity, high on Carnivale!

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Snapchatting the event!

 

With Brent providing the professional photography, I had the freedom to soak it all in.

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With my days of bikinis nearing an end, this is the perfection transition to the one-piece!

Fun spin on the Hula Hoop

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Peacocking!
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One piece with a faux Statement Necklace!
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A little sequin love!

 

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Such bold colors!

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Took a quick glimpse at my husband, Brent, and realize that he was taking very limited photos of the male models and couldn’t put the camera down with the female models. Then I realized, I brought my husband to a swimwear event, lol… Ah, the plight of blogging with your husband!

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3D effect of florals!

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Beautiful floral patterns!

 

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A dreamy interaction between Male/Female Models

So, my husband, Brent, definitely doesn’t go to clubs or lounges, and is quite introverted. Well…so I thought. It’s a real testament to the production of that night and the entire DC Swim Week.  Where even a tech geek, as he sipped on his Shirley Temple, developed an appreciation and was talking about the swimwear, the presentation, and poolside venue! I absolutely enjoyed every single moment. The attention to detail, the incredible focus on DC as a fashion powerhouse on an international and local scale; and the clear drive to make sure every fashion enthusiast’s desire is satisfied was commendable. Can’t wait until next year!!!

***Click here to learn more about the 20 international and national designers, there was so much talent!!!***

 

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“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined”

-Henry David Thoreau

 

Naomi

 

Our Fantastic Florida Vacation w/ an Unexpected Guest…

3 Kids, my husband, me, my mom, her husband, my little brother Tony from Cali, and a partridge in a pear tree… all went on a 8 day vacation to Central Florida. IMG_8840 Honestly, the longest vacation I’ve ever taken. I have this fear that if I take more than 4 days off of work, I wont wanna go back, lol. So until this trip, I never have.

We stayed in the Sheraton Vistana Resort in Lake Buena Vista, a place with a luxurious yet home-like feel, with a lot of space, a fully-stocked kitchen, 2 large bathrooms, washer/dryer, and living/dining room.

 

Of course, this trip was initiated due to my daughter’s last and biggest club volleyball AAU 4-day tournament in Orlando.

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Orange County Convention Center

However, I successfully turned a mandatory event to a fun-filled family opportunity! Kudos to me, lol.

My daughter and I flew down 2 days before everyone, because she had to be rested and volleyball ready! The first day of the tournament started at 4pm, and 3 games later, we were done around 930pm.  IMG_9011.JPGSo, I knew she was tired and we decided to treat ourselves to Red Lobster, then rest for her next game was the next day at 8am.

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One the 2nd day of the tournament, the rest of the family flew in and once everyone was settled, we had a family/team dinner at Freddy’s Steakburgers.

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Tournament Day 2
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Tournament Day 3
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Tournament Day 3

After the tournament, which ended up being 12 games in 4 days,

I had major plans to take all of my family to Disneyworld, for one day.  However, Mother Nature had other plans. In that it rained with thunderstorms and lightning the entire rest of the trip in Orlando.  So, I decided to go to plan B.  Only issue is I actually did not have a plan B, yet.

Masterfully I thought, all else fails the kids always will enjoy the beach.  Plus, I promised the now 8 year-old that he could have birthday party on the beach.  So, before heading to the beach, my brother and I went to Walmart to get some presents, and cupcakes, to make his party on the beach even more perfect. IMG_9018

We all traveled a little over an hour to Daytona Beach.IMG_9050

Let me tell you, the sand was soft (hot) yet fine, the water was warm, blue and inviting.
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Surprisingly it wasn’t too crowded. Everyone had a good time…especially me. IMG_9035I was on some crazy level of relaxation, that I’ve never experienced before. Initially I was uncomfortable because I knew it was ephemeral but then I allowed it to overtake me. dsc_0018As, Elsa sang in the movie Frozen, Let it go, Let it go… And I did, and I’m so much better for it.

The next day was my lil bro’s last day before he had to head back to his screenwriting West Coast World.  The occasional thunder and lightning continued in Orlando, so I had to scope out one last potentially fun for the entire family event.  After reviewing the resort’s discounted tickets list, we decided on Gatorland !!

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It was awesome for everyone, but profoundly hot like suck the lifeforce out of you hot, fortunately they had a little water park area. DSC_0115 And kids and I were ready, after all you should never travel in Florida without a bathing suit on or ready.  We are a family full of geeks (and my mom’s a retired school teacher) so there’s nothing like mixing education with fun. DSC_0076

So, my little bro departed that night headed back to his life of screenwriting and west coast living.  Yeah, I was missing him pretty bad.  I think that’s why hubs decided to take me out on our last night there. IMG_9097

  We went to Kobe for Hibachi.

Then to get our sports fix, we went to Orlando Ale House, nothing like 5 large tv screens of sports highlights!!!

On the 8th day, we were all sad to leave yet ready to go back home.  A sign of a really great vacation!!!DSC_0082 We got back to Baltimore are 1am, just in time for hubs and I to be back at work at 8am, lol… You know how we do.

 

Naomi