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💓Takes 30 Seconds!💓 We have...

In 2017, tired of my debilitating anxiety disorder, I went to see a new doctor. She was sure my anxiety was the result of a medical condition. After routine bloodwork, I was told I had a vitamin D deficiency. But that’s it. I left without any more answers than I walked in with. It wasn’t until 2 years later when my friend DM’ed me to tell me that she and a friend (who both suffer from anxiety) had the same results, that I began thinking there must be a connection between anxiety and vitamin D deficiency. Today on the blog, I’m sharing why some studies show that a lack of vitamin D could be linked to anxiety and depression. I think what I found will surprise you. If you suffer from anxiety and/or depression, have you ever been told you’re vitamin d deficient? .
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In 2017, tired of my...

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” - Martin Luther King, Jr. 
Art: @kobrastreetart .
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“If you can’t fly then...

AD: January 20th is National Cheese Day! Do you have the perfect cheesy meal planned yet? Our family will be eating these incredible homemade enchiladas, filled and topped with the best cheese, @trulygrassfed Naturally Aged Cheddar! YUM! This cheese comes from the farms of Ireland, aged for 6+ months to a perfectly smooth and creamy consistency. It's truly delicious. Truly Grass Fed products are always non-GMO, growth hormone rBST-free, antibiotic free, 95% grass fed and imported from Ireland. When you choose Truly, you can be assured you're choosing products that adhere to the highest standards of nutrition, flavor and quality. Their dairy is minimally processed and as close to nature as it gets. BTW, their butter is the best we've ever tasted! #PairsWithYou #ChooseTruly https://lnk2.io/wSpWDmQ .
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AD: January 20th is National...

What did one helmet say to the other?  I'll stay here, you go on a head. .
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What did one helmet say...

Let’s talk about family vacations... #gifted I struggled for years with the amount of time it took to pack up to go back home. There were always dirty clothes all over the floor and while I tried to pack it all into those hotel provided plastic laundry bags, 1) they were plastic and we are trying our best to do better for our planet and 2) they rip so easily, so we often wound up with dirty clothes spilling out in the car (yuck). A couple of months ago, I was watching a friend’s Instagram stories and she was talking about the @swoopbags she uses for her son’s toys. I immediately had an idea and knew I had to get one. 
On our last vacation, I opened up my large swoop bag and left it flat in the corner of our hotel room. We used it as our “laundry corner”. We instructed the kids (and ourselves) to drop our dirty laundry in the middle of the flattened Swoop bag. When it was time to pack up, I just swooped the bag, tied it and voila… it literally saved me all of the aggravation of finding and picking up all of the clothes and trying to find something to carry it all in. Don’t forget to check out the blog for more family travel hacks and a quick video on how I fit all 5 of our clothing into one small suitcase! I put the link in my bio! .
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Let’s talk about family vacations......

Anyone else super excited that today is National Dress Up Your Pet Day?! Elle will be going through a few wardrobe changes today. 🙈 What will your pet be wearing?
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Anyone else super excited that...

As a family, we road trip quite a lot. It's a ton of fun, but also a lot of work (for me at least)! Over the years, I've found a variety of ways to save time and money and I'm finally sharing those family-friendly travel hacks with you on the blog today! Click on the link in my bio or swipe up in stories! How do you save time and money when you travel?
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As a family, we road...

Growing up, I always wanted a sibling. I wished over every star and every birthday candle. I even asked my magic eight ball constantly if I would ever have one but as many times as it told me “all signs point to yes”, I remained an only child. I look forward to the days when my three girls appreciate that they have best friends for life... two women who will always have their back, lend them a hand or provide a shoulder to cry on. In the meantime, I make sure to create fun reasons for them to “work” together without bickering. So, I’m excited to announce that Iyla and Falynn are starting a new venture together, @thesuperkidlife and I hope you’ll follow along and show them some love. Although I will run the IG page for them for now, Iyla will be in charge of content and stories, so you’re in for a treat! They already have their first sponsored posts lined up! Stay tuned. . .
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📷 @jenpriesterphotography 
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Growing up, I always wanted...

C O L L A R D  G R E E N S 
If you’ve never tried them, this is your reason to. If you’ve tried them and aren’t really a fan, this recipe is going to change your mind! I haven’t met a person who wasn’t a fan after they tried my collard greens. After years of keeping this recipe all to myself, I’m finally sharing it to change the minds of all of those greens-haters. So no preconceived notions about whether or not you like collard greens. Instead, I challenge you to try this recipe out and tell me you aren’t a fan! The recipe is on the blog (link in bio or swipe up in stories). Will you try them? .
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C O L L A...

A Birthday Celebration at Amara Cay Resort in Islamorada, FL

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You only turn 13 once, so I wanted to make sure that our oldest daughter, Lucia, had the most memorable 13th birthday imaginable. We packed up our family and invited her best friend Caitlyn along for a weekend getaway at Amara Cay Resort in Islamorada, in the Florida Keys. Beaches, dolphins, relaxation and family fun made it one of the best family trips we’ve ever taken.

When we pulled up to Amara Cay Resort, it was hard to believe that only a year earlier that most of the Keys had been devastated by Hurricane Irma. The grounds were immaculate and you really couldn’t tell that they had any damage, though according to their General Manager, Miguel, it took the hotel 3 months to recover. I am happy to report that the resort is back and stronger than ever.

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First Impressions

When we walked in the front door, I immediately fell in love with this resort. Like it’s sister property, Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa, it’s also perfectly and thoughtfully decorated.  It was sensory overload for me. I just wanted to pack up every piece of decor and bring it home with me. It’s the perfect mixture of land and sea with surprise accents along the way.

I was greeted by a beautiful, smiling face and given a quick rundown of the amenities. Meanwhile, the girls found the swinging chairs. Oh those swinging chairs. They could have stayed there the entire time if I let them. I can’t count the amount of times, over the entire weekend, that they asked me if we could get those for our home. I practically had to pry them out.

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The girls were extra excited because this was the first trip where they had their own room. We kept the adjoining door open just because I’m a Mama and safety is number one, but it was so nice to have a little separation because it made it feel more like a vacation. Anyone with kids knows what I mean. Sometimes you need to not be locked up in one hotel room.

The rooms at Amara Cay Resort were perfect. Our room had the most comfortable bed, a little pull out couch, a desk and a balcony overlooking the courtyard with views of the ocean. I spent way too much time on the balcony, where I could shut the door and soak in the beautiful sounds of paradise.

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Reelburger + Reelburger’s Tiki Bar

Amara Cay Resort’s restaurant, Reelburger, is located just steps from the front desk and features direct views of the beach. The girls loved the kids menus and crayons (a must have for families). Their kids menu was perfect, especially for picky kids like ours. Reelburger serves both breakfast and dinner, indoors. Their made to order burgers were like nothing we’ve ever seen and Lucia’s friend said it was the best burger she’s ever tasted. They also offer favorites like fish tacos and salads if you’re looking for something on the lighter side.

We had the pleasure of meeting Reelburger’s Manager Linda while we were eating. We found out so much about the history of the hotel since she’s been there for so many years (18, if I remember correctly), well before it became Amara Cay Resort.  You can tell by the way she spoke about the hotel how much she loves her job and the people she works with. She told us that when they were shut down for three months, after Hurricane Irma, that the hotel continued paying the staff, even though they were closed. When a company cares that much about their employees, it says a lot about them. That’s the type of company I want to give my business to, I don’t know about you.

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Of all of the decor at Amara Cay Resort, I’d have to say that my favorite thing was the mason jar light fixture. Y’all… I must’ve taken 50 pictures of it, from all angles, so that I could figure out how to make one in our home. OBSESSED.  And while the inside is gorgeous, the outside of the property is also amazing.

If you don’t want to be stuck indoors, Reelburger’s Tiki Bar is the poolside spot for lunch and dinner. The Tiki Bar is perfect for those that are sitting by the pool and just want to grab some food or cocktails. We were even able to sneak down after dinner and grab some dessert to-go, after the restaurant had already closed.

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Family Friendly Resort

While there are so many resorts to choose from in the Keys, when you have a family, there is nothing more important than a hotel that considers your kids. Amara Cay Resort hasn’t missed one step when it comes to making sure their smallest guests are happy too. The courtyard features table tennis, Jenga, bean bag toss and a foosball table. There’s also a fire pit that is lit at night. The perfect place to hang out or make s’mores!

By the pool, you’ll find a giant connect four game. Out by the beach, they have additional bean bag toss games and hammocks. Who doesn’t love a hammock? I even lounged in one for a while.  Let’s talk about the beach area. I love the beach, don’t get me wrong. What I don’t love is the hot sand that you have to work to walk through. Amara Cay Resort’s beach is not that kind of beach. Because so much of the Keys have a sea wall, you’re actually sitting feet above the water. Amara Cay Resort brought in beautiful white sand that is so easy to walk through and even fun to draw pictures in, just ask Falynn!

Non-motorized water fun is available on site in the form of kayaking and paddle-boarding, as well as bicycles if you want to leave your car behind and check out the local attractions.

In addition to all of the games already on site, Amara Cay Resort also partners with local attractions to bring a little marine life education and fun to the resort.

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Ciao Hound Italian Kitchen + Bar

On the first night, were drove over to Amara Cay Resort’s sister property to have dinner at Ciao Hound Italian Kitchen + Bar. Holy deliciousness. I can’t even put into words what we felt.  The only thing I could say is that they totally ruined Italian restaurants for me because I’ll never find a place that both has a great family environment and also serves food THAT good. They even had a little place outside for people with dogs! Brilliant and thoughtful. Our server was awesome. She was so attentive and really made our experience that much better.

For dinner, I had eggplant parmigiana. It was the best eggplant parmigiana I’ve ever tasted. Ever. They were even super accommodating and switched my pasta for broccolini. Iyla ordered her favorite thing on the planet, caprese salad. At first she was confused at the texture of the fresh mozzarella but once she took a bite, her face told me that she would never eat that store bought mozzarella again.

There was very little conversation happening at our table if I’m completely honest. Lucia ate every single bite of her lobster ravioli. I thought at one point she was going to lick the plate clean. Actually, she might have. To be honest, I don’t really know, I was too busy paying attention to my eggplant parmigiana.

I wish I had the opportunity to really photograph the food (it was just a little too dark and I’m such a natural light snob when it comes to photography). I was so close to going back the following day just to take pictures. Ok, who am I kidding? I would have totally eaten there again.

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My Kids Give Amara Cay Resort Two Thumbs Up

If you ask my kids what is most important when it comes to choosing a resort, they will tell you two things.  One is that it must have a pool and the other (I’m slightly ashamed to say), is that they must have free wi-fi. Sigh. Good news is, Amara Cay Resort delivered on both. The zero-entry pool allows you to walk in from most parts of the pool. There is no shortage of lounge chairs either so there are plenty of places to sit and enjoy the view. There is an abundance of palm trees everywhere you look so paradise is all around you.

The girls spent a good chunk of both days in the pool, only getting out to eat, sleep and swim with dolphins at Theater of the Sea (stay tuned for more on that). Fearless Falynn was flying through the air and living her best life, begging for her Daddy to throw her just “one more time”.

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We couldn’t say enough great things about the staff either. They all went out of their way to accommodate us and we are so appreciative. If you ask Lucia, she’ll tell you that her 13th birthday celebration at Amara Cay Resort was unlike anything she could have dreamed of. The only word she could think of to describe it was “amazing”.

If you’re looking for a place to unwind or host an upcoming event, Amara Cay is the place to be! I even joked with the General Manager that I could see Super Dad and I renewing our vows there. Maybe in 6 years for our 20th Anniversary?  You never know. Either way, we will be back, for sure!

Based on our experience and photos, what do you like best about Amara Cay Resort? Comment below and let us know.

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39 Comments
  • Vicky
    June 18, 2019

    I can’t think of a better way to spend a birthday that at this wonderful resort. It has everything – no need to leave. Sounds like you all had a blast and created some amazing memories.

  • Marina
    June 18, 2019

    Wow what a stunning place. The swimming-pool by the sea it’s a dream 🙂

  • Cassie @ Getyourholidayon
    June 18, 2019

    Wow! This place looks amazing! I would like to try out this hotel with my family. 🙂

  • Helen Little
    June 17, 2019

    What an amazing place to visit for your daughter’s birthday! You all look like you’re having so much fun! Happy memories right there. xx

  • Karin Usipuik
    June 17, 2019

    This resort looks like so much fun! So Instagram friendly too;) . I’m glad you were able to have a fun getaway!

  • Wanda Lopez
    September 30, 2018

    This is such a beautiful place. I went to Islamorada with my family during the summer, but didn’t stay there. Now, it’s on my list and I can’t wait to see it in person. I want every piece of decor too!

  • Joanna
    September 29, 2018

    The resort looks lovely! The decor is so pretty, with the modern blended into traditional furniture. The food at the restaurants looks delicious as well, and oh, that pool! I could take a dip in there right now.

  • Rosey
    September 27, 2018

    Wow, it does look like they recovered nicely. I’d love to have the chance to visit. It’s not that far from us at all!

  • Karen Morse
    September 26, 2018

    I don’t mind staying here, in fact, can I live here? It’s a great place to celebrate your birthday especially if you’re with family! Their smiles are proof that they really enjoyed going there!

  • Casey
    September 26, 2018

    So envy that you guys get to go to so many great places all the time, and this place is no different. The hotel, room, food, etc… are absolutely amazing, the price must be pretty high as well… You guys sure how to live your wonderful life!

  • Kita Bryant
    September 25, 2018

    Your kids must have really enjoyed this ! They are always smiling in your pics!

  • Dhemz
    September 25, 2018

    Wow, what a little piece of paradise. I like the fact that the place is family friendly. Looks like you guys had a blast!

  • Jessica Martin
    September 25, 2018

    What a way to celebrate your daughter’s 13th birthday. Happy Birthday to her! This resort is so beautiful. Definitely a place I would want to stay if I ever get to the Florida Keys. Your getaway looks like it was fun and relaxing.

  • Jeanine
    September 25, 2018

    This is such a lovely resort. I love how kid friendly it is and the restaurant looks like it would fill all the kids

  • Holly
    September 25, 2018

    Oh it looks like you guys had a blast. What fun!!

  • Ronnie
    September 25, 2018

    The pics are beautiful and the kids look like they’re having so much fun! I’m glad you got a relaxing, fun stay at Amara Cay Resort. It sure looks like a great place to stay. 🙂

  • Kimberly Rood
    September 25, 2018

    That resort looks amazing!! It looks like a perfect place to spend a birthday and from the pictures it looks like everyone had a GREAT time! I would definitely check that place out.

  • Devyani Ray
    September 25, 2018

    The place looks amazing! Looks like you guys had a great time.

  • KC Puentespina
    September 25, 2018

    Looks like everybody had so much fun! I love taking family vacations most especially when we get to stay in a cozy and beautiful place like this!

  • jeff
    September 25, 2018

    What a great birthday for your daughter. The resort looks amazing, I’ve never been to Florida but it looks like paradise.

  • Rachel
    September 25, 2018

    What an amazing birthday celebration! I try to convince my daughter to pick to go places rather than have a party.

  • Brittany
    September 25, 2018

    This looks like my kind of resort! I would love to stay here. Your photos are stunning. Looks like a fun time!

  • Farrah Less
    September 25, 2018

    We were there last April we stop by during our Key West trip. Such a paradise place I wish we could go back again any time soon.

  • Lisa Favre
    September 25, 2018

    What a birthday well-celebrated! And I am sure, well-deserved. Everything about this resort looks like paradise – I especially love the beautiful room!

  • Anosa Malanga
    September 25, 2018

    Wow! What a great place to unwind and bond with family. I have never been to Florida and I guess I need to take note of this so I can consider this when I opt to visit Florida for vacation.

  • Chubskulit Rose
    September 25, 2018

    What a way to celebrate a birthday. This resort looks so beautiful, a great time will sure be achieved.

  • Jennifer Maune
    September 24, 2018

    Loving the decor – so relaxing, but warm at the same time. The outside is gorgeous as well, and love all of the fun activities available!

    -Jennifer

  • Denay DeGuzman
    September 24, 2018

    What a fun and fabulous birthday celebration with your family! I love that you shared some great information about Amara Cay Resort. What a beautiful location!

  • Melanie P East
    September 24, 2018

    This looks like such a relaxing place. I would definitely enjoy visiting here with my husband.

  • Marysa
    September 24, 2018

    What a beautiful place to stay! This looks like an awesome trip for the whole family. Sounds like you guys had a blast. I haven’t heard of this place but would love to go!

  • Lori Geurin
    September 24, 2018

    This looks like a great place to visit with your family. Plus that burger looks amazing! I love the swinging chairs and hammocks too – soo relaxing!

  • Jenn@Engineermommy
    September 24, 2018

    This resort looks like a fabulous destination for a family vacation. I would love to take the kids and hubby here one day soon.

  • Ashley
    September 24, 2018

    Those views, pool, I want to be there right now. It’s been dull and raining here for what seems like forever.

  • Amber Myers
    September 24, 2018

    I would LOVE to go here one day. How relaxing. My family would enjoy it too. We always like being near the water.

  • Melissa Chapman
    September 24, 2018

    I have never been to the Keys but this is a place I would love to visit. Whether hanging out on a hammock, playing ping pong or having some great food this looks like a keeper.

  • Candy
    September 24, 2018

    lol is like a beautiful place to stay. Luxury looking and all the bells and whistles a person would enjoy

  • Tasheena
    September 24, 2018

    The food at Amara Cay Resort looks amazing! It looks like you guys had such a wonderful time.

  • Alli Smith
    September 24, 2018

    I love everything about this resort! From the decor to the amenities – everything looks amazing. And that food – yum!

  • Robin rue
    September 24, 2018

    I would love to go there for a little family getaway! It sounds like such an amazing place to stay.

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A Birthday Celebration at Amara Cay Resort in Islamorada, FL

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