Inspired / Desert Sun and Sand

09/30/2014 — Comment

Inspired by the Desert

1. Cactus Candleholder / 2. Art Print / 3. Grand Canyon Poster / 4. Desert Leggings / 5. Gilded Turtle / 6. Body Scrub / 7. Decorative Candle / 8. Cactus Pen / 9. Succulent Wreath / 10. Coyote Tank / 11. Saguaro Tiki Statue

I think I’ve explained before how for every trip we take I always try to find a keepsake for our jars or the house to remember our trip by. For the desert I haven’t chosen my item yet but that little turtle sure has my attention.

Which item would you choose?


Cabo San Lucas, Reviews / Sandos Finisterra Hotel Review

09/29/2014 — 23 Comments


Earlier this year we went on a trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. I shared a little with you before about our first all-inclusive stay, but I didn’t write an official review.

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We stayed at Sandos Finisterra, in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. For this trip we chose a Junior Ocean View Suite, to give us room for 2 adults and 2 kids and some wiggle room. The accommodations were well styled, and kept nice and clean. My favorite part of our room was not only the view, but the tile floors and dining table. We had a water dispenser in our room, and housekeeping was very timely and polite. The bathroom had a nice deep tub, which made it easy to keep the boys clean. To be honest we didn’t spend a ton of time in our room, most of the time we spent was out by the pool.

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The amenities were wonderful. The hotel sits on the Pacific Ocean side of Cabo San Lucas, so you can not swim in the ocean, but the 360 degree view is unparalleled. It is across the street from the marina, and an easy walking distance to downtown. At the hotel there are plenty of family friendly activities centered around one of the three swimming pools overlooking the ocean, and there is also a kid’s club if you’d like a little time to yourself. There were activities scheduled throughout the day, my personal favorite was water zumba. I’ve never tried it before so I felt a little funny, but it was a ton of fun once I just let myself get into it. One of the pools included a swim-up bar and beverage service was offered in most of the outdoor areas. The hotel also has a nightclub, coffee shop, bar, and spa. I’m a little proud of my husband for winning a massage for me in a competition at the pool. During our stay we only planned to leave the resort once for a whale watching tour, and it ended up being canceled because of a squall. After doing some quick souvenir shopping we returned back to our little paradise on the beach.

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Overall I would give this hotel a 10/10. I’m not usually this generous with my ratings but we spent 99.9% of our time here and had the best time. The hotel was very clean, service was impeccable, the food was delicious, and we’d love to make a return trip one day.

Lands End, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico - Copyright Steve Doll. All Rights Reserved

Unfortunately the hotel was hit by a recent hurricane, so they are currently in recovery and will re-open on November 1st. To learn more about Sandos Finisterra please visit their website by clicking here.

Eat / Nopales (Cactus) Salad

09/26/2014 — 27 Comments

How to Make Nopales (Cactus) Salad

In order to keep the desert theme going a little longer, I’m happy to say I’m working with a guest poster today. Please give a warm welcome to my friend Jordan, she is here to share a desert-themed recipe with you today. She has a wonderful affinity for simple food and beautiful photos.

Hey guys! Jordan here from Wonder Thrills! I’m so thrilled to be able to share with you this awesome recipe that totally encompasses the desert feel. What I love about cactus (or nopales) is the look that you get when you purchase them at the store, they literally think I’m a culinary genius or something of the sort! These little guys are actually really easy to clean and cook, and they have an interesting taste that refreshes your palate, and leaves you wanting more.

Jessica has made us envious with all of her desert photos, but now you can have a taste of desert in your own kitchen!

How to Make Nopales (Cactus) Salad

(Serves 4)

1 Cactus Leaf
1 Pack of cherry tomatoes or large tomato
1 Avocado
1 Lime
1/4 Cup Queso Fresco
Bunch of Cilantro
Salt (to taste)

First, you need to clean the cactus. The best way to do this is to first rinse the cactus under cold water, lay it down on a chopping board, and careful where to place your hands, thinly slice off the bumps and/or prickers. I say careful because if you get a pricker in your hand, it feels like a splinter.

When that’s all done, thinly slice the cactus like french fries. Throw them in a frying pan with some coconut oil on medium heat. Cover, and let cook for about 3 minutes, and then uncover and continue to cook for another three. Stir them around a bit during as well just to keep the cactus from sticking. Sprinkle on some salt, and set to the side.

In a medium sized bowl, combine chopped tomato and the juice of a lime. Next add the cactus and chopped avocado. Carefully combine, and then serve in four small dishes. Top with quesco fresco and cilantro!

How to Make Nopales (Cactus) Salad

I hope you enjoy this recipe, it looks delicious! And since I live in the west, it’s right up my alley. If you’d like to learn more about Jordan, please visit her blog below.



Travel Tips / International Air Travel Tips

09/25/2014 — 29 Comments


I have to admit, if you haven’t flown internationally before the process can be quite daunting to think about. What airline should you fly? What do you need to bring? There are so many questions and not a lot of answers available. Today I am sharing my list of things I look for when booking an international flight.

Direct Flights
I always prefer to travel non-stop when possible. It can be more pricey sometimes, but if you look at different times or days you can usually snag a good deal. It cuts down on travel time, and saves you from having to navigate an airport in a (possibly) foreign country. If I can’t travel non-stop, I look for domestic layovers. Or if coming via Europe, a layover in London would be perfect. I really like what Thomas Cook Flights has to offer. Be forewarned that when coming back into the United States for a domestic layover, you will have to go through customs, gather your luggage, and go back through security before you get on your next flight so leave an ample amount of time in your layover. We usually do that and have time for a meal before boarding the next flight.

Long flights can be rough. Not only are they long, but you’re stuck in a small area with lots of other people. Some airlines have better perks than others. I’ve been on flights where a multi-course meal was served, complete with hot towel service, and others where we were lucky to get a beverage. I personally look for meal service, outlets or USB Plugs, seat back entertainment, and priority boarding for children (so much easier with a toddler!).

Baggage is not usually a huge issue for me because I travel light, but some airlines offer larger allowances for international flights which works out better if you are going on a very long trip, or planning to bring back lots of souvenirs. You can pack a carry-on inside of a larger bag if you want to have a big bag to check on the way home.

Modern Convenience
I try to cut down on my to-do list at the airport so online check-in is a blessing for me. It’s so much easier than fighting with the kiosk or waiting in a long line. When purchasing tickets, I love to be able to choose my seats. Often I will choose seats that are closer to the front of the plane if I know I have a shorter layover.

I hope that these tips help you figure out what to look for when booking an international flight. If you have any additional tips, please share them below!

This conversation was sponsored by Thomas Cook but all opinions and text are my own.

52 Weeks / Week 37, The Sand Box

09/24/2014 — 31 Comments

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Though the weather is still warm here, Summer officially came to a close this week. The boys celebrated by soaking up some sand in their sandbox. Cooler weather probably won’t stop us from heading to the beach, or spending lots of time outside but I’m definitely looking forward to it. We’re in a severe draught, so some rain would be wonderful as well.