What is collagen?

Have you heard of collagen?

If you’re the least bit interested in beauty and/or health, I’m sure you’ve seen it referenced a time or two. It is the newest buzzword in the health and beauty industries… and for good reason!

So, what IS collagen?

Per Medical News Today, “Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, found in the bones, muscles, skin, and tendons.”

Okay, so collagen is a protein… what’s the big deal?

Well it IS a big deal if you care about the health of your connective tissues… I’m talking joint health, healthy skin, nails and hair, and reducing the appearance of wrinkles. Did I catch your attention yet?

Collagen is important when it comes to your body growing new connective tissue – that means keeping joints, bones and tendons healthy as well as quickly replenishing skin, hair and nail cells (the quicker our body can replenish cells, the younger our skin/hair/nails appear). When we are young, collagen is produced by our bodies in abundance, but as we age and expose our body to UV radiation and other environmental factors, our bodies produce less and less collagen. This is why we associate popping joints, brittle nails/hair, and wrinkles with aging… our body produces less collagen to prevent these age-related issues.

Besides age, what else can reduce collagen production?

  • High sugar consumption (UGH, I KNOWWW… even more reason to keep that sweet tooth in check!)
  • Smoking
  • UV Rays
  • Genetics

So, what can we do to prevent collagen loss?

The biggest factor in maintaining healthy collagen production is – you guessed it, a healthy diet. Consuming the correct amounts of Vitamins A and C, copper (found in nuts, red meats and shellfish), as well as Proline (found in egg whites, meat, and cheese) can aid in the production of collagen.

Along with a healthy diet, I’ve chosen to supplement my collagen over the past few months. I’ve tried a few brands and while, I do think they work (although it is still a bit early to tell…), they either don’t mix well or leave an awful flavor when I mix them into my smoothies or water.

Because I’m always looking for new health and beauty supplements to try, I was SO excited when AdvoCare announced the launch of its Glow system a few weeks ago! There are three products in the system, one of which is a collagen supplment. YAY!!!

Glow is a three-step system designed to promote the health of our skin, hair and nails. It is comprised of three products – Collagen, Skin, and Hair & Nails, and it has received only RAVE reviews from the ladies (and gentlemen!) that were given the opportunity to test it before it was released to the public.

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Step 1 is Glow Collagen. This supplement supports skin firmness and elasticity, promotes healthy skin cell function, and helps support natural collagen and elastin fiber production. It is a drink mix that is a cherry berry flavor and my oh my is it ever tasty!! It is much better than other collagen products I’ve tasted!

Step 2 is Glow Skin. This supplement provides antioxidants to support skin health, helps promote healthy aging of the skin, and supports healthy skin quality and structure. It is a single pill you consume daily.

Step 3 is Glow Hair & Nails. This supplement promotes healthy hair growth, supports lustrous hair (yes, please!!), and contains nutrients that support hair and nail strength. It is also a single pill you consume daily.

As I am now entering my mid-30’s (say whattt??), taking care of my body is one of my main priorities. I eat mostly healthy, I exercise, I *try* to get enough sleep (LOL, I’m a mom… yeah, right!), and I supplement to fill in any nutritional gaps my diet may not provide.

For me, staying healthy also means looking healthy. Is that shallow? Maybe, but if products can not only make me look better but also keep my skin, hair, nails, and other connective tissues healthier, count me in!

I am currently participating in a Glow Challenge where everyone is taking the new AdvoCare Glow System for 30 days and sharing their real results. The online group is private and very supportive, open, and a big ol’ self-love fest. We have been sharing photos of our before images this week along with photos that make us feel like we are GLOWing. I am loving this new “challenge” and all of the love and support we are showing each other.

If you’re interested in learning more about Glow, please don’t hesitate to reach out. There is no time like the present to put a little love into yourself and begin glowing both inside and out!

Treat Yourself Tuesday

Happy Tuesday! I know, I know… everyone hates Tuesday’s. Thankfully, we are talking treats today and that makes any day – even Tuesday – better.

Last week, one of my friends from grad school was visiting so I had the chance to meet up with her and her family for dinner and pool time! It’s always a treat to see friends… and I must say that it is super nice that people want to come visit where we live ;)

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After a work meeting on Friday night (not a treat!), I had a super busy and fun Saturday.

It started out with a run and running without a stroller is most definitely a treat.

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After cleaning up, Dean and I hit up Target and found him some cute outfits. LOVE the shark tank ;)

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Beach day = treat day – Dean is obsessed with the water!

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On Saturday night, Kyle and I took advantage of the Y’s Parent’s Night Out and had a date night at Cooper’s Hawk Winery. The wine and the bruschetta were both delicious.

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Earlier in the week, we picked up a bike helmet for Dean… He obviously isn’t a huge fan of it being on his head, haha.

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Now we can go on family bike rides though which will be a huge treat!

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I finally had a chance to check out a new-to-me farmers’ market on Sunday – LOTSA fresh fruit and veggies for cheap. I will be back!

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Check out this fun tank I found at Old Navy. Yes, it is now mine ;) I have gym hair allll the time and I definitely don’t care!

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I also picked up some new shoes for Dean at Old Navy… I couldn’t resist, look at that cuteness. The kid gets treats more than I do!

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How did you treat yourself over the past week? Any fun treats to report?

Treat Yourself Tuesday

Oh heyyyy, it’s Tuesday! That means another round of treats are coming your way.

I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of treatin’ these days but nothing comes to mind… I’ll do my best to remember all of my treats ;)

Dean’s birthday party going off without a hitch! Woohoo! It was so much fun to celebrate with friends and family. He LOVED it too. In case you  missed it, you can find his birthday recap here. And now I have a ton of free time since I’m not party planning… Hopefully that means more time to blog and RELAX in the evenings.

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I haven’t mentioned it here yet, but Dean’s last day of daycare was on Friday. After doing the math of paying for daycare and not getting paid to teach classes anymore (I’m salaried so it is included in my overall “sum” now…), I realized I wasn’t coming out that much ahead financially. I spoke with my boss about it and we agreed on a new work-from-home schedule. I come into the gym a few hours per day to teach/handle bigger “gym” items and then I complete the rest of my work at home. Dean can stay in the child watch while I am working and then he’s home with me when I am plugging away on the computer. It is only day two, but so far, so good. I never had a real office (my computer is in a fitness closet – no joke, LOL) so having my office to work in at home is so much nicer!

New shorts! I totally forgot to cancel my Fabletics for the month of May – whoops… I had some additional credit and I needed a few more pairs of shorts so I treated myself to some Fabletics goodies. They are supposed to arrive on Thursday – I can’t wait!

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Speaking of new things, I also ordered a new Plum Planner. It should arrive this week as well. Of course I ordered it right before Mother’s Day and then ON Mother’s Day, Plum Planner was offering everything at 50% off. Go figure! I ordered the fitness and meal planning add-ins to keep me motivated. I’ll share it with y’all once I start using it :)

A fun weekend ahead! I’ll share more come Friday, but we have fun plans for the weekend. Yay for surprises!

More running outside – If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve noticed more running posts lately. I have been trying to get back to a normal running routine. It is such a great exercise and although it is starting to warm up here, it feels good to just step outside and go!

I think that is mostly it for the treat realm this week. Well, I guess you could say I am also treating my body by getting back to clean eating this week. Phew – There was a lot of wine (and chocolate… and FROSTING…) involved with planning Dean’s party, LOL. I’m in need of losing a few pounds of water bloat so I am back to eating well and taking my beloved AdvoCare supplements like a champ. Yay for Spark, Catalyst and a few of my other favorites gettin’ the job done.

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How have YOU treated yourself lately? Any fun purchases, trips, good eats, etc. to report?

Treat Yourself Tuesday – Weekend Edition

Hiya! How about another round of Treat Yourself Tuesday??

I did a whole lotta treatin’ the past few days  – Let’s recap!

On Friday I took a vacation day (woohoo!) and after a fun cycling class, I dropped Dean off at daycare and headed to Key Largo for my girlfriend’s bridal shower and bachelorette party. Woohoo!! The 2.5 hour drive wasn’t as bad as I anticipated and once I arrived drinks, food, male straw paraphernalia (LOL), and THIS VIEW awaited me.

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Gorgeous, yes?

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The entire group of ladies (there were about 20 of us I think?) stayed in an incredible condo at Jimmy Johnson’s Big Chill – A “resort” on the water with a fun bar, pool, boat rentals, and an incredible restaurant. After catching up with a few (okay, a lot…) of drinks, we prettied ourselves up and headed to dinner. And my oh my was dinner ever a treat!

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Seafood towers, filets, mussels, drinks, desserts… more dessert… We were spoiled and ate like queens!

Saturday was a relaxing pool day – for obvious reasons, and I hung out for the morning and then drove back to Naples as Kyle and I had plans to celebrate our anniversary. The drive back wasn’t as pleasant as the drive to Key Largo ;)

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On Saturday, Kyle and I hired our first non-family babysitter for Dean (we all survived!) and met up with friends at Cooper’s Hawk Winery for drinks before heading to dinner at The Bay House. We will definitely be back to Cooper’s Hawk (it’s new to Naples!) and enjoyed a gorgeous sunset from our table at dinner. It was a wonderful time celebrating our 6th anniversary!

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In case you’re new or want to check out our wedding day, you can find recaps here:

Sunday was our actual anniversary (May 1st!) and we kicked it off with a beach walk after Dean slept in his crib until 8am. #anniversarymiracle

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After the beach Dean treated his parents to lunch at MASA… you can tell I was interrupting “man time” by taking this photo ;)

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I ordered fish tacos and sangria as I obviously needed more alcohol over the weekend.

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For our anniversary dinner, Kyle cooked up cajun red snapper along with quinoa. We also picked up some stone crab claws (SOOOOOO good!) to enjoy with dinner. I had my fill of both fish and drinks the past few days!

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Yesterday morning I treated myself to a killer BODYPUMP class and sweat out the weekend. It hurt so good.

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Finally, I am treating Dean’s teachers to a fun surprise today for Teacher Appreciation Week! I could NOT decide what to gift them but I always hear them chatting about healthy living so Dean and I crafted fun healthy gifts. A cute water bottle to stay hydrated, a Quest Bar for a tasty, protein-filled snack, lip gloss for healthy lips, and – most importantly – Spark for healthy energy! I hope they love them!!

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How did you treat yourself this week? What are you gifting the teachers in your lives?

Treat Yourself Tuesday – I’m back!

Oh heyyyyy, how about resurrecting Treat Yourself Tuesday today?

Don’t you worry, I haven’t stopped treating myself since my last post, I just fell off the consistent posting bandwagon and didn’t want to leave y’all hanging with an anticipated weekly post :)

BUT I did a heck of a lot of treating this past week so TYT is back today!

First things first, I took a little blogging break for a few days. It was 100% unintentional… I have become an extraordinary procrastinator and needed every second of my free time to memorize BODYPUMP 97. LOL – whoops! Thankfully, it’s now ingrained in my head and I have time to blog again. I will say that taking a break from the internet is always a good treat and much needed every once in a while.

My second treat was a girls’ night out! I met a friend for dinner and drinks at Real Seafood Company (that I totally didn’t know was a chain per y’all’s comments on social media). It was DELICIOUS and I will be going back ASAP.

On Saturday I did a lot of shopping treatin’ ;) Kyle gave me a gift card to C.Orrico for Christmas and I had yet to spend it. I suggested we visit 3rd Street South (the old downtown area of Naples) for lunch so I could FINALLY use my gift card. I have been patiently waiting on my first piece of Lilly Pulitzer attire since moving to Florida and I can now proudly say that I have two Lilly dresses. I purchased one at C. Orrico – The Seaview Maxi Dress – and one online at Nordstrom’s – the Grayes Printed Shift Dress in Multi So A Peeling. I tried on the second dress at the store but unfortunately, they didn’t have my size so I quickly found it online and ordered it in the print I wanted. Kyle and I have a wedding and sunset boat cruise this coming weekend and I can’t wait to wear my new dresses. (Photos of the actual dresses to come!)

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And because I bought new dresses, I obviously NEEDED new shoes ;) Haha! I ordered a pair from Zappo’s (mainly because they sent me a $30 coupon unexpectedly) – They are white wedges and are going to look fab with both dresses, I can’t wait!

I mentioned I was a procrastinator previously in this post, right? Well, it was due time to decorate our office/den space… It’s only been a year since we purchased the house!! Dean and I picked out a few pieces from Hobby Lobby morning and now the room looks SO much better. I was able to find everything for under $200 which is incredible. Now to find something for above the glass sliding doors in our living area…….. one big decision at a time, LOL ;)

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Oh! And one more treat… I finally purchased a Qalo ring. I don’t wear my wedding rings to the gym because I’m fearful of chipping/harming them so now I have this pink gem to share my marital status!  

 Other than that, it has been the same ol’ treats around these parts… Lotsa Spark, lotsa fun workouts, pool time, beach time, and fun in the sun! Later this week I am getting my nails done and my sister is coming into town on Thursday for a visit! She is going to watch Dean while we attend a wedding so it will be nice to spend some time with her as well.

How have you treated yourself recently? Any fun treats coming up?I still have a spa gift card AND a Lulu gift card burning a hole in my pocket so those treats will be coming sooner rather than later :)

#112 Treat Yourself Tuesday

It’s a short week for me as we’re headed to Iowa tomorrow to visit family.

Since I have to pack for everyone (and clothes/items we don’t typically wear/use which makes it more difficult) today’s goal is to stay focused… and extra SPARKly, of course :)

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Even though it is going to be a busy day, I’m still making time for some treats… A big ol’ glass of Spark in my hand at the moment, storytime with The Deanster this morning followed by BODYPUMP at the Y. It’s going to be a good day! But enough chattin’, let’s get down to this past week’s treats!

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Kyle and I had our first Naples date night sans Dean! (We went on a few while in Chicago) I have wanted to check out the Wine Loft ever since we moved to Naples but being pregnant and having a newborn isn’t really conducive to lofty wine nights out ;) It was AMAZING and totally worth the wait. I mean… just check out this cheese plate! We will be back.

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Being DONE with family photos for the year is definitely a treat. Whew – Why they are so stressful is unknown to me but I’m glad they’re over. I shared our preview yesterday and I cannot wait to see the rest! We get to visit our awesome photographer, Rochelle Shucart, late next week as well for Dean’s 6 month photos. Getting him photographed is much more fun than when I’m in the photos ;)

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We enjoyed a lot of beach sunset time over the past week which is always a treat. Naples sunsets are gorgeous.

I attempted a little nap action yesterday afternoon but Dean was not having it. Who needs sleep anyways!?

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Finally, last but most definitely not least, I treated myself to my annual supply of gingerbread bars!! This photo is from last year (I think I was 12/13 weeks pregnant here?) but the excitement is the same. These little nuggets are THE BEST and they only come out once per year. I got 6 boxes this year and that should hold me over until Christmas ;)

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Are you a gingerbread fan? What is your favorite date night location?

#111 Treat Yourself Tuesday

Tuesday, Tuesday… You want to know why I started TYT? Well, it’s because Tuesday has always been my most dreaded day of the week. We expect Monday to be lousy. Wednesday means we are halfway to the weekend. Thursday is Friday Eve. And well, Friday calls for some TGIF. But Tuesday? Tuesday is just kinda hanging around taunting us with its Tuesday-ness.

But now we can reminisce about all our treats from the past week and remember to take a few moments to treat ourselves on our least favorite day of the week.

Make sure you do something nice for yourself today! Deal? :) And if you’re new to TYT, head on over here to read about it!

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Now, onto my treats!

EVERYONE better be listing my first treat… Halloween candyyyyy! I have a love affair with Snickers and I only ever have them on Halloween, Christmas, and Easter. OMG are they good. I think I had 5 before our Trick or Treaters started swinging by ;) Thankfully, Kyle took our remaining candy to work yesterday so it wasn’t sitting there calling my name. #sugarhigh

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Next up… sticking with the consumables train… vino. Oyster Bay may be my new fave Sauvignon Blanc. It’s very affordable and it goes down quite easily. I always pick up a bottle (or three…) when we do our monthly wine stock up.

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Dressing up Dean. Parent perks ;) Superman and Sock Monkey = Too much fun!

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Christmas music!! It is still hot here in Florida but I want to get into the Christmas spirit for Dean’s first holiday so, Christmas tunes it is. Thank goodness for Spotify – They have some great holiday stations!

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I won a giveaway from Valerie last week and with my giftcard, chose a new bracelet from Green Grass Boutique! Sharon has some super cute pieces and her shipping was really fast. I thought this bracelet was more than appropriate since we live near the beach in Naples.

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I have also decided to stop worrying about our family photo outfits as a treat to myself, haha. I sent this photo to our photographer yesterday and she told me my color selection was perfect. I’m not sold on my top yet (I think I need one slightly more fitted since my pants are more of a boyfriend-style crop) so I may change things up for myself AND I ordered a pair of super cute pants for Dean today but I at least have a majority of the outfit selection done. Next year I’m hiring a personal stylist for our family pics ;)

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Whew! I had some good treats this week and I hope you did as well! Share how you treated yourself in the comment section and link up to join in on the fun.

Are you listening to Christmas music yet? What color(s) do you tend to wear frequently?

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#110 Treat Yourself Tuesday

Make sure you enter my giveaway for Mighty Nut Powdered Peanut Butter! I’m selecting a winner tomorrow morning :)

Well hey there, Tuesday. How about we share some treats?

If you’re new to Treat Yourself Tuesday, pop on over here and read all about it!

After launching BODYPUMP 95 on Saturday, Kyle, Dean and I headed to Naples’ Stone Crab Festival. We attended last year right after we moved to Naples so it was fun to head back for our 2nd annual trip. Stone crabs + wine + a late lunch at Captain & Krewe (I ordered the seared ahi tuna BLT… AHHHmazing!) = a fun Saturday afternoon!

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I enjoyed some “me time” at the gym on Sunday afternoon without having to worry about watching daycare time limits since Dean was home with Kyle. A little StairMaster action followed by teaching BP. Felt great!

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On another fitness note, I treated myself to my longest run since last August yesterday morning! It was a warm one and I was exhausted but those 5 miles felt great. Can’t wait to get out there more often now that The Deanster can join me in the stroller.

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BEST mail day. Can’t run out of my favorite flavor of Spark! Advo orders are always a treat :)

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Quest Bars – They’re supposed to arrive today! It’s much more economical to order them in bulk so I have a few boxes arriving from GNC any minute now.

Stocking up on wine… Precious cargo right there ;)

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A sunset on the beach. Naples is the best!

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Teaching this guy how to sit up. I am taking full credit – I’d like to thank all of the BODYPUMP I did while pregnant. KIDDING. I swear you can’t teach babies how to do anything… They’ll catch on in their own sweet time. The Deanster is much happier now that he can be upright and rollover. Muscle control is a good thing.

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Now it is your turn for the treats! How did you treat yourself over the past week? What is your favorite flavor of Quest Bars? Farthest run this year?

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#109 Treat Yourself Tuesday

We are taking a quick break from #pumpkinweek2015 this morning to share our weekly treats! It’s not a Tuesday without Treat Yourself Tuesday, right?

If you’re disappointed in the lack of pumpkin in this post, maybe this will hold you over until tomorrow ;)

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But enough chatting… Let’s talk treats! I plan on sharing our Key West vacay – eats, where we stayed, what we did, etc. – next week but since the trip involved all of my treatin’ last week, I’m going to do a little photo recap. It was a fun, long weekend so come back if all things wine, delicious food, and roosters roaming around an island intrigue you!

Cruisin’ down to Key West on the Key West Express! Bright Dark ‘n early so there was a gorgeous sunrise and mimosas to be had.

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Dean loved it… Kyle and I got a little green in the face with an hour left in the trip. Let’s just say we will be driving next time ;)

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First stop… A chocolate-covered piece of key lime pie on a stick, for Kyle.

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Photo at Dean’s second hotel stay. We stayed at Eden House and it was great! More info to come :)

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LOTSA swimming. We have a little fishy on our hands!

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Family photo – Not the best of us but we are all dressed well ;)

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Wine. LOTS of wine. Wine at happy hour and dinner and just for fun ;) And we found THE BEST wine bar ever. Uva. Go there if you visit Key West, no excuses.

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A solo morning run followed by a family walk on a gloomy Friday morning… We laughed at all of the roosters and randomly roaming the island.

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Cuddles with The Deanster.

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Naptime… at least for the baby.

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And the FOOD. OMG the food. Definitely more to come on this – So so SO good!

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Whew! How’s that for a photo dump? I’ll be back next week with more details :)

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Now it is your turn! Tell me how you treated yourself over the past week – Best eats, best purchase, best glass of wine?

#108 Treat Yourself Tuesday

Well look at that, a TYT post that I have up bright and early on a Tuesday morning! Are you shocked?! I sure am ;) One of my goals is to get better at scheduling posts the night (or days…) before so I’m not late getting them up. We shall see how long this lasts.

Dean has decided to start growin’ some of his teeth so the past few days have been rough. He is not a happy little guy! Holding him helps so there has been a lot of one-handed chores getting done… I am still shocked at what I can do with one hand these days. I broke down and gave him Tylenol yesterday morning and it helped a ton, hopefully those things will pop through soon and he’ll be back to “normal” for another day or two before the rest of his teeth decide to come in, ha. Also, I don’t recommend trying the CIO method while they are teething – It definitely won’t work that way. Lesson learned. After lots of screaming ;)

Anyways, enough baby talk… Let’s chat some treats :)

Treat Yourself Tuesday Badge

A new suit! I’ve been eyeing the brand Becca by Rebecca Virtue ever since I was pregnant. And since we are so close to the Gulf, we have a ton of bathing suit shops that carry the brand. I went with this top and these bottoms. I also bought this top but think I’ll probably return it – Just not my style!

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I hit up the outlet mall near Naples last week and, of course, I found some cute items for Dean. Apparently when you become a mom, you treat yourself with cute baby things ;) I held myself back and only purchased another set of trunks and an SPF top for him. I got the same whale trunks that he has in a bigger size so he can wear them this winter! They were on super clearance, I couldn’t say no.

As I mentioned in my weekend recap, I treated myself to a little alone time on Saturday and it was glorious. A mani-pedi was much needed. And then I picked up a bottle of precious cargo on the way home ;)

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Another fun stop at the outlet mall was the J. Crew outlet <– dangerous! I bought a pair of skinny jeans and the pink shorts in the photo above. Bright patterned shorts are the thang here in Florida (or at least that is what I’m telling myself…) so I buy all of the pairs I can find. I actually have a few pairs at Lilly Pulitzer that I LOVE but I’m just deciding which style I like the best before I buy them.

Time at the beach. ‘Nuff said.

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Teething necklaces for the Deanster. The dude is chewing on EVERYTHING these days… Especially my shoulders and tops. As much as I love the cute drool stains all over my entire wardrobe (LOL), I figured I’d give him something better to chew on so I found these guys on Amazon. Hopefully he likes them!

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I think that wraps up my treats for the past 7 days. Well, besides lots of family walks outside… The weather is starting to become beautiful in Naples and we are taking full advantage from now until May :)

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How did you treat yourself over the past week?

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