Thanksgiving is around the corner, and in case you are hosting like I am, chances are you are thinking about your table setting and what that will look like. A few years ago, I invested in plates and flatware, and I've been acquiring stemware over the years. But this year, Suzy and Magita from Plume Home Decor reached out to me about styling my table for Thanksgiving. They have these gorgeous placemats and all the items to put together a gorgeous table setting for your holiday table. What I loved about these placemats is that while they are gorgeous and look stunning in this table setting, they are versatile enough for everyday use! They wipe clean and are lightweight.
So I sent them photos of my space, and the items I thought we could use, and they got to work. They showed up at my house and worked their magic, and this was the result. This is a service they provide, so if you are in need of table styling for an event, don't hesitate to reach out to them! We also reached out to Melanie from House of Lilac, and she gave us this spectacular magnolia garland, which was the perfect touch for this table.
I think it turned out to lovely and I can't wait to hear what you all think!
Sweet Potato Casserole
Pumpkin Spice Syrup
This year, I am thinking about gifting earlier than usual. Due to social distancing measures, the threat of rising cases of coronavirus, slower-than-usual mail, and a busy November, I don't particularly want to find myself at a crowded mall a couple days before Christmas. I also knew that I really wanted to highlight local small businesses. Check out some of these shops and start checking those gifts off your list!
Selah Skin Studio - Selah is a holistic skincare studio offering hand batched clean skincare for your skin + soul. They will include a hand written note with your special message on all gift orders. I have been using their face masks and serum for a few years now, and they are incredible. I have also gifted their products on multiple occasions and they are always a hit!
Droplets of Love - Jennifer makes unique natural products for all ages for hair, skin, and everyday emotional support, using high quality oils and herbs, as well as pure, steam distilled essential oils. Her products are made from my smoke free home and shipped within the U.S. Aside from that, she offers products from DŌTERRA, which can be purchased on the site. All of her products are made with love and with you in mind. If there is something specific you are looking for, just ask her. Chances are, she can make it to suit your unique situation. Whether you are looking to improve your hair, or you have skin goals that seem unattainable, she can help. Her Persephone night time elixir is a staple in my skincare routine.
Mari Cabrera, Mary Kay - This Christmas, give a tired friend the gift of self care with these amazing hydrogel patches! Personal Skincare and Makeup Consulting services - Mary Kay products ranging from personal care to skincare and makeup. Mari has been in business for over 8 years and serves customers across the U.S. She can help you check off gifts for almost anyone on your list!
Plume Home Decor - Plume Home Decor is a globally inspired home accessories boutique offering a variety of interior design objects, cushions, florals, and table top decor. They also offer interior design services! Gift cards are also available. They have beautiful, unique pieces, and are always willing to help answer your questions.
The Family Candle Shop - Who doesn't love a candle? This shop, run by a mother/daughter duo, offers 100% soy wax candles. Made with all ingredients made in the USA. Poured in small batches in Miami, Florida.
Bee Made Handcrafted - This small local shop makes beautiful handcrafted items for the home. These make great gifts for almost anyone on your list!
Meet Lala - This is a curvy boutique in Miami serving our fellow plus size gals offering sizes XL - 3X. Their mission is to offer the boutique experience to the plus size community, by featuring thoughtfully curated pieces, including everything from their “not so basic” basics to styles for every occasion in sizes XL - 3X (sometimes 4X).
Taudrey - Taudrey is an all-female-led jewelry brand focused on connecting and empowering women through meaningfully personalized accessories. Their mission, their brand, and their work ethic are definitely setting a gold standard. I'll have a collaboration launching with them later this month so stay tuned for that!
Grow & Design - Natalie turned her hobby into a business after losing her job in the pandemic. She creates meaningful pieces - from earrings to decor with polymer clay. She actually sent me this heart shaped diffuser for the car, so I can have my essential oils diffusing when I'm on the go! Because her pieces are made with clay, you can add oils to the earrings, too - especially helpful for these anxiety-ridden times! She prays her pieces can give hope and peace. They are handmade with a lot of love.
So Me Jewelry - So Me Jewelry is a local handmade jewelry company that prides itself in creating on trend affordable pieces. Sophie started her business nearly 4 years ago on a total whim at 15 years old. Since then it has continued to flourish and grow in so many ways. They offer everything from bracelets, earrings and necklaces. This holiday season they're adding rings to their collection as well. They are also in the process of creating brand new packaging since this year many people may be receiving gifts via mail and they want the unboxing experience to be as special as ever.
Pretty Girl Charm - A luxury jewelry business that specializes in personalization and making your dream pieces come to life. Lina and Sarah are best friends and mommies to best friends that decided to make their love for dainty jewelry into a full time career. Every piece is gold filled and hand made with love. Whether it is your little one's initial on a gorgeous chain or a “Mommy and Me” set you can share with your little one, their goal is to make something you will always cherish.
Press Pause Essential Oil Diffuser Bracelets - Miami Mom, Janelle Fuente, is an advocate of pressing pause on the daily hustle to enjoy our life and the people right in front of us. When she's not encouraging us to care for ourselves through her blogs and on Instagram, she's creating tools such as these "Press Pause" Essential Oil Diffuser Bracelets to empower women with the ability to “press pause” from anywhere at any time to ground and gather ourselves. Janelle is a Miami native, a mompreneur of one (with another on the way) and 10% of her earnings goes back into our local community through charity.
GT Stitchery - GT Stitchery offers custom embroidery and personalized gifts. Their products include one of a kind personalized masks and holiday apparel. They will also be offering embroidered hats, baby blankets, masks and towels in our holiday sale. GT Stitchery is proudly run by a Miami mom of three little kids, and everything in their shop is custom made with love.
Little Owly - Little Owly is a boutique featuring apparel, accessories, play and decor, bath and wellness, feeding, nursery products and more for newborns and children up to age 6. They carefully curate each item in their store with products from across the globe for little ones to wear, create, explore, play and be inspired everyday. They are a place for families by family.
Caprilina - Caprilina is a baby brand, run by a local mom. They offer personalization of baby clothing items, blankets, and other items for baby.
Food & Drink
Pudding Parlor - A variety of homemade puddings include classic banana pudding, chocolate hazelnut, triple chocolate, and seasonal flavors such as pumpkin gingersnap, cinnamon apple and boozy banana. All puddings are made to order. If you have a small gathering you'd like to take a sweet treat to, this is your ticket to wowing your host (or your guests!). This pudding is homemade and so creamy and delicious.
Obvious Wines - Sustainable, Vegan & Obvious Wines! Because you can NEVER go wrong with a bottle of wine. My fave from this lineup? Bright & Crisp - but be careful, it's kind of like drinking juice!
A Taste of Well Being - In a year when so many of us have been focused on health, why not give someone you love a gift that will benefit their health? Alexandra offers personalized nutrition & health programs without fad diets, specific to your health needs. The nutrition programs focus on healthy habits for long-term health success. Each program establishes balanced eating habits with meal plans, nutrition education, virtual consultations, and healthy lifestyle habits. No matter your health, nutrition, weight loss, weight gain, or lifestyle goals the program will benefit your long-term health success.
VxV Consulting - VxV Consulting is a financial coaching firm that provides personalized insight, guidance and trusted advice for women and families. They provide independent, fee-based financial consulting services. They do not sell or manage any investments directly but offer personalized financial consulting services. Initial 30 minute consult is complimentary and can be scheduled directly on their site. What a great gift to give to anyone entering a new stage of life, or even yourself!
Shop Hello Happy - Shop Hello Happy was born out of a passion to make others smile and well, in this hectic world, to also bring some simplicity and ease to your shopping needs. They believe in gift giving and celebrating the little things in life. They hope you find what you are looking for in their shop and that you even treat yourself to a little something too. Our store carries gift items for home, her, kids and much more!
Miami isn't necessarily known for being a Mecca of all things fall, but over the years, our balmy city has grown to love all things pumpkin and spice. And while we sure do love us some classic Pumpkin Spice Latte action, there are also some really creative people out there who have put that fall flavor into some of our classic Miami offerings. If you're in the mood for a fresh take on some of the classics, check out these fall treats to try in Miami.
Pumpkin y Queso Pastelitos from Vicky Bakery
A fall twist on the favorite pastelito de guayaba y queso - perfect for a breakfast treat or a snack with your afternoon cafecito.
Pumpkin Gingersnap Banana Pudding from The Pudding Parlor
I didn't even know how much I liked banana pudding, and this one, homemade and with this deliciously spiced take, has me slightly obsessed.
Pumpkin Spice Cake Donut from The Salty
Their brown butter donut is my favorite because I'm not a HUGE donut fan. And this is a pumpkin spice version of that. So good.
Pumpkin Pie Milkshake from The Berry Farms
I mean, if I took pumpkin pie and ice cream and threw them in a blender, this is what it might taste like.
Pumpkin Spice Key Lime Pie from Bakey Shop
REAL key lime pie is one of my absolute favorite desserts. Bakey Shop has come up with some incredible versions of key lime pie, and this pumpkin spice one was a thousand times better than I could have imagined. A good alternative to a regular pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving!
I've tried each of these, and they're all amazing. But them get while you can, because fall won't last long (if we truly get it at all in Miami)!
“No matter how much we may love the melody of a bygone day or imagine the song of a future one, we must dance within the music of today, or we will always be out of step, stumbling around in something that doesn’t suit the moment.”
Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge—until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents—but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.
Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.
Before We Were Yours is written by Lisa Wingate and is based off of a real-life child adoption ring, where Georgia Tann, the director of an adoption organization based in Memphis, would kidnap poor children from their families and sell them to wealthy families all over the country. Reading the accounts of the children living in dirty, unsanitary, and precarious situations was heartbreaking. Rill is forced to grow up so quickly, and as much as she fights to save her siblings and keep them close, something always comes up against her.
Reading this brought up some big feelings for me for two reasons:
Get the Book.
Last week, Eddie and I decided to book a spontaneous overnight trip to the Florida Keys with the kids. We figured a night away would be good recharge for everyone and the Keys are close enough that we wouldn't spend a ton of time in the car. After looking at our available rewards points and which hotels were available, we settled on Bakers Cay Resort in Key Largo.
We arrived on Sunday around 10 am, and to limit guest interaction indoors, check-in is done at the guard gate at the entrance. Our room wasn't ready, but we were allowed to use the premises and all the amenities once we were checked in. After taking a quick walk around the resort, we headed to the kids' pool, complete with a cascading waterfall and a bar with really delicious Pina coladas. The pool is surrounded by trees, so it makes you feel like you are in your own little oasis. After hanging out there for a little bit, we headed to the beach and to grab some lunch at the outdoor restaurant, Dry Rocks. We sat on one of their couches and ordered food and drinks, all of which was delicious.
Sunday night we enjoyed dinner at Calusa, their other restaurant which features Creole-Caribbean flavors. You can dine indoors or al fresco. Because we went pretty early, we decided to eat indoors, and there was nobody else inside the restaurant. They have a great kids' menu and the staff was really kind. The food was SO good (I highly recommend the Rum Chicken). Calusa is also where they serve breakfast, but we didn't eat there in the morning. There is also a Tiki Bar on the beach where you can get drinks and some light bites.
As far as things to do, there are a lot of activities available and they are all included. I really loved how kid-friendly the whole resort is (it's pet-friendly, too!). There is an adult pool and a kids pool, an open court, and there are two separate beach areas with lounge chairs and towels. By the lagoon there are kayaks and paddle boards available, and they're included in your resort fee, so take advantage! The lagoon is perfect for kids because it's nice and shallow - Chloe loved playing in the water. There is also a pier where you can fish, and Eddie and Caleb took part in that activity - they give you bait and fishing rods, also included in your resort fee.
The rooms were updated and SO nice. We had an Oceanview room with two queen beds. The floors were tile, which I loved, and the bathroom was beautifully done. There was no tub, but the shower was big enough for one of us to get in with the kids. We loved standing on the balcony to watch the sunset and the kids loved spotting the boats on the water. The beds were comfy, and there were enough surfaces to put our things in the room. One of my peeves about hotels is that there are never enough hooks to hang things like towels and clothes that you need to air out, but this room had a set of hooks on the wall that held a bunch of items! I was definitely pleased to see that.
Overall, we had a really great experience (and this was not sponsored). We were only there for one night, so we didn't do anything additional in the area, but I know that there are a few other things to do in the Keys if you're spending more days there - particularly in the areas of boating and watersports. We have already talked about going back with the kids because it is such an easy trip - it's a little under an hour away and it really felt like we were somewhere else.
So if you're in South Florida and looking for an easy escape that's kid friendly and really gives you that feeling of getting away, Baker's Cay is a good bet!
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