gosling manor of kiawah.

So this house is home base for me until Sunday, over dinner we nicknamed it Gosling Manor.

So this is the house I'm in for the weekend. Ryan Gosling not included. #WyndhamRentals #Kiawah

It’s the biggest house I’ve ever been in, and I was convinced houses don’t come bigger than this house until we went to the beach and saw this house:

Kiawah Island

I mean.

I’m on Kiawah Island just outside Charleston in South Carolina doing what I do, traveling, writing, taking pictures of alligators coming out of sewers just down the street (!!!):

Kiawah Island

I didn’t even know Kiawah Island existed until I met Kim-Marie last month who has a summer house in Kiawah.

And now here I am, and it is beautiful.

Kiawah Island

I’m here as a guest of Wyndham Vacation rentals. There are enormous houses all around Kiawah, only 12% of them are occupied year-round. Many of the owners work with Wyndham to have them rented out to families and groups (like ours) the 48 or so weeks they aren’t in Kiawah using their glorious 6,000 sq. ft. beach houses.  This house runs $1,798 a night over the 4th of July, however in October/November? $696 a night. But here’s the thing, it sleeps 14 — comfortably, with dual vanities and private bathrooms for all.

I’m already planning my own conference at this house. 11 more of you can come after I bring Shireen and Emily. We’ll do it in October, $49 per person per night. Who’s with me?

We’ll swim in the pool, cook in the fancy kitchen, sit on all the comfy couches, watch the giant TVs, go to the beach, talk about boys — it’s going to be amazing. We can even rent bikes and/or a private chef.

Kiawah Island

Kiawah is gorgeous, I’m a little mad no one has brought me here before.

Kiawah Island

Today was only day one, tomorrow involves carriage rides, antebellum homes, aquariums and ghost tours in Charleston. Saturday? Riding horses on the beach.

Cody asked if I’d like him to fashion a horn for my horse to wear to fulfill all my childhood fantasies of riding a unicorn on the beach.

I had to correct him — all unicorn riding fantasies take place in a misty, magical forest. Horse riding fantasies on the beach involve Ryan Gosling, shirtless, riding next to me.

Have you ever heard of this whole vacation rental thing? I’ll admit, before today I was convinced renting someone’s house was either a creepy Craigslist killer setup or only for the rich and famous.

Kiawah Island

Gosling Manor has changed my mind.

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As a guest of Wyndham Vacation Rentals travel expenses have generously been taken care of for me, thanks guys. Opinions are as always, my very own.

 

 

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the best off the boat.

(part two to the best of the boat.)

St. Thomas, USVI

Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013

Antigua
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013

Tortola, BVI
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013

Nassau, Bahamas
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
These tiny islands really put our floating city into perspective.

****

Disclosure: Accommodations, most expenses and travel were covered for my family and me while on board.

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the best of the boat.

Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013

And of course, here’s the million dollar question:

Do these photos make you want to go on a cruise?

******

Disclosure: Accommodations, most expenses and travel were covered for my family and me while on board.

 

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the embiggening of addie: part one

Addie and I are back out on another grand adventure, this one started yesterday in Sarasota, Florida and will continue on Saturday into the Eastern Caribbean via enormous cruise ship.

Have you ever been to Sarasota, Florida? I thought Panama City was amazing (and it is!) but it turns out Panama City is just a regular ol’ beach town in Florida compared to Sarasota. Growing up in Utah, Florida was the dream. If you could make it to Florida you were big time. To think of all those wasted summers spent in Southern Utah. (I kid of course, no summer is ever wasted in Southern Utah, but the little girl inside me still squeals with delight when she comes to Florida.)

On the flight down here Addie told me she wanted to be a scientist. Then after touring the circus museum and watching a circus performance she decided she’d much rather be in the circus.

That is until tonight when she decided she would much rather grow up and work in the Tervis Tumbler factory assembling what she deems “THE BEST, MOST AMAZING CUPS EVER.”

For a kid who is addicted to ‘How It’s Made’ on the science channel, touring a real live factory and getting to assemble her own cup using crazy fancy machinery? Life made.

Addie made her very own custom Tervis Tumbler (with cats) at their Sarasota factory.

She also wants to be a travel writer, a baby nurse and a ballerina doctor.

Addie, she comes with big dreams and it’s one of the things I love most about her.

What’s been most amazing on this trip so far is that other writers brought their own children, and Addie has made friends with all of them. Hearing her in the back of the van whispering, giggling and bonding with other kids makes my heart sing. Earlier in the year Addie would hide behind me and cower when it came to meeting new people. We’ve practiced meeting new people for the last two months and today she proved that practice makes perfect. She’s managed to look every single person she has met in the eye, smile, shake their hand, and say “Hi, I’m Addie.” which is HUGE.

This little kid, part of me wants her to stay this age forever while the rest of me can’t wait to see what she grows into.

Wave jumping at Siesta Beach. @VisitSarasota

Especially if she grows into a circus performing cup assembler who moonlights and a baby ballerina doctor.

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(Disclosure as usual: Our travel expenses have been covered by the Sarasota Visitors Association and we couldn’t be more thankful to them for this opportunity to visit. Opinions as always are my own.)

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the 10 best things about NYC, according to addie.

This post is sponsored by Disney Story. To find out more about this brand-new story-creation app – and how it puts the power of storytelling in your hands – click here.

I’d like to think that my memory is good enough to remember all the marvelous bits of days with my kids.

But the truth is, if I don’t write it down within 48 hours it’s gone.

Which is part of the reason I love social so much, when I go back through my timelines and photos a thousand would-have-been-forgotten memories come back as clear as they were when I captured them in the first place.

And this concludes #AddieInNYC, thanks for traveling along with us. xo

If you were to ask me about trips with Addie over lunch I would be overcome with a feeling of extreme happiness, time spent with her is just plain good. Let me talk a little longer and the best moments would come back. Let me look back at photos and I could talk for hours (assuming you wanted to hear about it for hours.)

Thankfully I put together this list of Addie’s most favorite parts of NYC while it was fresh in my mind, because if you were to ask me now I would say “EVERYTHING” and Addie would say “CANDY!”

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wanderlust.

So I’ve been stationary for what, three weeks now?

Stationary meaning my suitcase has been completely unpacked with no immediate travel plans (unless you count our little romantic jaunt to St. Louis last weekend, which when compared to the kind of travel I had been doing since February, St. Louis was the equivalent of going to the grocery store. (I mean, if the grocery store had the most amazing Sunday brunch and thick pillowy beds to laze around in all day with my beloved then yes, totally the same.))

Wanderlust has hit me. “Crave for travel. Ache for distant places.

Swimming with Stingrays in Grand Cayman
Since I was little there has always been this part of me that has daydreamed about the world. Everything I’ve ever seen in a National Geographic or on the Discovery Channel is out there — waiting for me. I can remember standing outside in the mountains as a child, taking deep breaths thinking “the only thing between me and the Pyramids is air.” It’s kind of amazing to know that the night sky is the same for everyone everywhere. The only things separating me from the Swiss Alps at this very moment are my living room walls, air, and distance.

I also used to dream about floating above the ground, unaffected by gravity, watching the world turn underneath me. I’m sure some physics major is out there rolling their eyes at me, but when you’re a little kid you can be or do anything, and I wanted to see the world.

Seriously. I have fallen even more in love with her in the last few days.  #AddieInNYC
My mom did an amazing job of taking my sister and me to new places, by the time I was a teenager I had seen almost every mile of Interstate from British Columbia to Southern California as well as the West Coast to Mt. Rushmore. It wasn’t until I was in my 20′s that I made it East of Colorado, and it wasn’t until my 30′s that I made it out of the country. I’ve still never been to Europe. I’d love to see Asia. My biggest dream is Bali or maybe New Zealand. Someday I’ll walk hand and hand with Cody in Italy. Someday I’ll see zebras and elephants in Africa.

Addie has already seen and done more than I had ever done at her age. Travel suits this kid, I hope it’s a curiosity and desire that sticks with her forever.

Dragonfly Zipline
While I love being home, I love knowing there’s so much more out there. I love knowing that my lush green backyard I am so familiar with would be exotic and unimaginable to someone on the other side of the world. I love that just going from Indy to Kentucky feels like an entirely new world with charming accents and rolling hills. I love that places like New York exist, and in less than a day you could be surrounded by perfect peace and tranquility in Southeastern Ohio.

Next month I move from full time toddler blogger, to part time travel blogger on Babble. Some things have already been put into motion. Things that make my heart sing and my wanderlust twirl. I don’t know what’s in store for me in the future, but I am incredibly excited about it.

cruising.
 Where’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever been?

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