Ireland – The Emerald Isle

Prior to visiting Ireland, all I knew about it was that it is very, very green and there are a lot of sheep. While doing research about what we would do while there, I discovered that Ireland has so much to offer and it got me pumped for my very first visit with my family.

Ireland, Dublin specifically, is a 6 hour plane ride from the NJ/NYC area and that is where we decided to make our home base for the next few days. We spent 3 nights/4 days exploring the city of Dublin as well as venturing out to the countryside and Northern Ireland. To be completely honest, Ireland was never on my list of places I wanted to visit, but my husband had his eye on it for a while and I am SO happy we finally made the trip there.

Just a side note: Our itinerary might sound a little aggressive for some people, especially if traveling with younger kids, with such a short amount of time but for our family I knew it would work.

Where to stay?

When you don’t have too much time in a city, location is KEY! My one big issue with Dublin was how expensive accommodations are. Most decent, non hostels, in the heart of the city will easily cost you $300+ per night when approaching peak season. I personally prefer rentals when traveling because they provide more room for my toddler and always end up being more cost effective. We found the most PERFECT rental and I couldn’t have been more happy with our choice. Dublin City Condo is a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment with full kitchen, washer/dryer and balcony. It was in a great location too – 1 minute to the nearest grocery store, 2 minutes to a Starbucks and in walking distance to pubs, restaurants, shopping and most major tourist attractions. Best of all – it was a lot more affordable and had way more space than any other hotel we could have booked.

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Click HERE to view our rental.

 Day 1:

We landed in Dublin at about 6am but by the time we went through customs, grabbed our luggage and made it to our rental – it was almost 9am. We were exhausted, so we took a quick nap and then headed out to explore. Prior to heading to Dublin, I scored a great deal on Groupon for a 1 day Adult Dublin Pass – normally priced at 59€ (abt $69) for only 40€ (abt $47) so picked up 3 of them as I was traveling with my husband & mother – Victor is still free at most attractions! If you are not familiar with the Dublin Pass, it’s basically a sightseeing card that includes a ton of the top places to visit. Even though we had a late start to the day, we were determined to make the most of our pass. These are all the things we were able to do/check out on our first day:

-Hop on Hop Off Bus

-Dublin Castle

-St. Patricks Cathedral

-Teelings Distillery

-Guinness Storefront

I would say my highlights were St. Patricks Cathedral and Teelings. I’m not religious but I love visiting churches while in a new city, mainly because many have a lot of history behind them and architectural wise are simply stunning. Teelings was also a big surprise to me because I feel like people don’t talk about it as much as Guinness or Jameson. It was my favorite of the 3 – it is much more intimate in the sense that the people who work there seemed to genuinely LOVE their job and telling you the history behind the distillery and overall just more personal. The tasting room was great & parents, it’s kid friendly so absolutely don’t miss doing a tour when you are in town.

 Day 2: 

I knew I couldn’t visit Ireland and not make my way to the Cliffs of Moher. Usually, I have no problem just renting a car and driving while on vacation, but we decided that ultimately the best thing to do for this trip was to book tours. Doing this allowed us to see more in such a short amount of time. While that may not be ideal for everyone – it ended up being the perfect decision for us. I booked the Cliffs of Moher tour with Irish Day Tours that included a visit to Doolin, The Burren and Galway City. The tour was about 12 hours long but we never felt rushed, except for the short stop in Galway. The drive was super serene and scenic with lush greenery going on for what seemed like forever. I can’t really properly put into words what it feels like when you get to the top of the cliff and are finally able to just take that view in. It’s one of those things that in pictures it’s amazing BUT in person… you are left speechless. I think at that moment, I officially fell in love with Ireland. Each stop left a big impression on me and I am looking forward to the day I get to return to Ireland to Glamp in Doolin and spend a few days exploring Galway.


Day 3: 

On this day, we got to visit Belfast, the Giants Causeway and Carrick A Rede Bridge with Wild Rover Tours, which also was about a 12 hour tour. Sidenote: I’m pretty sure Wild Rover is the only operator in Dublin that offers something that includes all 3 of these in one day. While in Belfast, we took a 1 hour Black Taxi Tour and I now totally understand why they are so highly rated. I am very fascinated about history in general but visiting Belfast makes you open your eyes to current day issues and I honestly was so shocked to learn about how separated by religion/national communities they still are. The art work on Shankill and Falls Rd show two complete different ideologies. My top highlight from that day would have to be seeing my son cross the Carrick A Rede Bridge. At only 2 years old, he is so brave, because after crossing once – my knees were shaking but it was worth EVERY STEP. That evening me & Ryan stepped out solo for some adult fun. The bar area around Temple Bar was a little more rowdy than I could deal with after a super long day, so thankfully we found this really awesome spot called Mulligan & Haines. I highly recommend this spot for drinks and good music.

Day 4:

Today was our last day in Dublin.  Since we would be catching a flight to our next destination later in the evening, we decided to sleep in a bit and then head to the Jameson Distillery for a drink and then catch lunch at The Brazen Head, which is Ireland’s oldest pub, dating back to 1198. The Brazen Head was super busy but was worth the wait for a table. We got a table at the back bar area and stepping in that room you are instantly transformed to a past era. There is something really cool about having a pint of Guinness in the oldest pub in Ireland, so I would say this is one of those stops you have to make when in Dublin. The food was also really good!

One of the questions I got most from people after our trip was regarding safety while at some of our stops – in particular, the Cliffs and walking across the bridge. Victor is your typical toddler boy. He is full of energy and is very curious. We discussed before leaving for our trip how we would make certain stops work. When we got to the part of the cliffs that were fully open, my husband held him. As you can see from the photos above, the only shot I got of him there was behind a secure wall and in front of a castle. To me personally, his safety is worth more than a cool shot. If not careful, it can be very dangerous as it is fully open. I would not recommend letting a small child walk/run around this area by themselves. As far as the bridge – it’s actually very secure and I did a lot of research about small children walking across it before deciding we would let him. We knew that when we made it to the bridge, if he expressed that he did not want to go (my son is very vocal about not doing certain things) one of us would stay back with him but he was so brave and crossed it, holding my husbands hand, with no issue. This bridge is also much shorter than it appears in photos. Getting to the bridge was actually way more work than we anticipated but was totally worth it.

Ireland exceeded my expectations. It’s such a gorgeous country and for the parents that follow me – it’s super doable with kids. You know your children better than anyone else, so just plan accordingly  and go at their pace. As always – if you have any questions on my recap or maybe something I didn’t cover, leave a comment below or shoot me an email.

Walt Disney World…. The Most Magical Place on Earth!

While I love meeting with characters, going on rides and watching the shows – eating and drinking my way around the Walt Disney World parks is one of my absolute favorite things ever.

Here are 12 photos that will make you want to eat & drink your way around Disney World!

  1. Is there any way to start off this list other than with the infamous Dole Whip? One taste of this delightfully smooth pineapple flavored soft serve and you will be hooked! You can find the Dole Whip at Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Disney Springs and a few of the Disney Resorts. IMG_9956

PC: @ohyeahdisney

2. Another delicious classic that can be found at all the parks has to be the Mickey pretzel!IMG_9715

PC: @stickaforkinme

3. LeFou’s Brew at Gaston’s Tavern is a frozen apple juice with a hint of toasted marshmallow and topped with passion fruit foam… some people think it’s even better than the Dole Whip on those hot Disney days. Head on over to Magic Kingdom to try this one out.IMG_9721

PC: @readerlygeek 

4. Churros need no explanation! With a side of caramel dipping sauce, these are sure to be a family favorite when visiting the Mexican Pavilion in Epcot. IMG_9717

PC: @disneyhungry

5. Calling all Sake lovers! This Violet Sake is not to be missed at the Japan Pavilion in Epcot. It’s the perfect combo of sake, purple pear and lime juice. IMG_9955

PC: @jan_eats210

6. Pulled. Pork. Cheese. Fries. — head on over to Animal Kingdoms Flame Tree BBQ to dig into these!

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PC: @disneyhungry

7. Everyday can be Sunday Brunch with this insane Bloody Mary from Paddlefish at Disney Springs. It features King Crab, Jumbo Shrimp and Candied Bacon! IMG_9722

PC: @disney_foodie_

8. NUTELLA…. do I need to say more? These Nutella Stuffed Beignets are what dreams are made of. Head on over to  France while in Epcot to taste this deliciousness. IMG_9714

PC: @disneyhungry

9. The Night Blossom from Animal Kingdom’s Pongu Pongu is insanely popular…and pretty to look at. It’s a mixture of limeade with apple and desert pear  flavors topped with passion fruit boba balls. IMG_9713

PC: @disneyhungry

10. We all know that when at Disney World, you are constantly on the go. That is why I love that they have quick service locations for many of the restaurants. This honey chicken from Yak and Yeti on the go looks delicious!IMG_9719

PC: @kingdommagic

11. Macarons and a Slushy cocktail always sound good to me but they are even better when they are from the France Pavilion in Epcot. This is the Macaron au Chocolat en Sucette and La Vie en Rose Frozen Slushy.IMG_9712

PC: @thesassymom82

12. The Mickey Kitchen Sink Sundae! This is sure to be a fan favorite amongst those young and old. This can be found at both the Plaza/Main Street Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom and at Beaches and Cream in Disney’s Beach Club Resort. It consist of a scoop each of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry then topped with hot fudge, strawberry, and caramel. Finally it is covered in whipped cream, chocolate and peanut butter chips, and cherries. Mickey-Kitchen-Sink-Sundae-600x618

PC: @disneyfoodblog

Now, I want to hear from YOU! What are your favorite treats from Disney World?

In the beginning of the year I made a promise to myself that I would find more time for self-care. Sometimes us women get so caught up in work, taking care of our household, kids etc. that we forget that we have to be in a good mental state to keep all those things going. Self-care can be anything from 5 minutes alone to a hot bath or even sitting in a cafe enjoying a cup of coffee while it’s actually still hot. One of my favorite things to do for myself is weekly face masks so I wanted to share a few of my favorite ones with you guys. These 6 products are in my current face mask rotation depending on what I’m trying to achieve for my skin that week. I try to mask twice a week but even just once a week can make a big difference for your skin.

Face Masks

[starting clockwise from top left]

  1. Mario Badescu Super Collagen Mask $18 – This is a classic collagen and clay-based mask that is designed for dry, dull complexions in need of a lift. This collagen-enriched formula helps plump and smooth the look of fine lines to reveal firmer, smoother, more youthful-looking skin. I love the scent of this mask and the way it makes my sensitive skin feel and look after using it. This particular product is marketed towards more mature skin but I really think it’s one that can be used for less aged skin while still seeing results.
  2. Garnier Moisture Bomb Sheet Mask $4 – This water-based sheet mask with Hyaluronic Acid, an ingredient naturally found in skin, floods skin with intense, weightless hydration. It is free of mineral oil and petrolatum and with pomegranate extract, provides a soothing burst of hydration and a fresher, softer, more radiant look. There is a half bottle of hydrating serum in 1 mask! After each use my skin feels super hydrated and instantly radiant.
  3. Glow Recipe Watermelon Sleeping Mask $22 – The Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask is a luxuriously bouncy, breathable sleeping mask that smoothes and perfects skin, overnight. This pillow-proof formula acts as a radiance-boosting hybrid hydrator, formulated with soothing, amino-acid rich Watermelon Extract, hydrating Hyaluronic Acid, and pore refining AHAs that work while you sleep to gently exfoliate and clarify. Besides the scent (which is friggin amazing!!!!) I love that this mask can be used 2 ways. You can use it as a sleeping mask by applying and letting it soak into the skin overnight or as a wash off mask for instant hydration and dewiness by applying for 10 minutes and rinsing off.
  4. Adore Cosmetics Nu Apple Peel Off Mask $135 – This ruby-hued peel off mask looks as juicy as a delicious red apple and immediately works to peel away at surface imperfections. Active antioxidant ingredients work deep into pores, locking onto dirt and debris. Then, the peel off action lifts them up, revealing brighter, better skin and fresher face. A powerful combination of ingredients including apple extract and Fruit Cell Culture work on surface skin cells for long-lasting skin brightening effects. In an instant, pores are deeply cleaned, skin is smoothed and left so so soft. At this price point, this is a higher end product but it’s worth the splurge. I love how clean my pores feel after using this mask and how firm my skin feels.
  5. Shea Moisture African Black Soap Mud Mask $16 – This clarifying mask draws out dirt and congestion while helping absorb excess oil and improve the appearance of troubled skin. A proprietary blend of African Black Soap and Raw Shea Butter helps to clarify, balance and soothe blemish-prone skin. After ever use my skin feels super clean and clear. One of my favorite things about this mask is how it really deep cleans my pores.
  6. Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask $58 – This powerful, triple-action manual, chemical and enzymatic exfoliating treatment addresses a dull, aging, and congested complexion in three ways: exfoliates with Pumpkin Enzyme, reveals with Alpha Hydroxy Acid and polishes with Aluminum Oxide Crystals. Helps even the appearance of skin tone, smooth the look of fine lines and wrinkles and clarify to reveal skin that looks smoother, younger, radiant and revitalized. I have never met a PTR mask that I wasn’t in love with. This particular one  is different in the sense that it’s basically a exfoliator and mask in one. I have sensitive skin so I only leave on for about 3 minutes but the results are incredible. You will notice a huge difference in your skin after only one use.

[ This post is in partnership with Spirit Airlines, as always – all opinions are my own.]

Did you check out my Disney Recap?

If so, then you already know that we flew Spirit Airlines last month to get to Orlando.

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While I have flown with international budget airlines before, this was my first time flying with a US based budget airline. Spirit Airlines is the leading Ultra Low Cost Carrier in the United States, the Caribbean, the Bahamas and Latin America – serving 39+ destinations!

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Spirit’s total price saves you 30 percent more than other airlines, on average, by unbundling ticket prices.

4 Reasons Why Spirit is Different

  1. Ultra-low fares

Home of the Bare Fare

Their fares are fully unbundled. No “free” bag. No “free” drink. Other airlines bake those options right into their ticket price. They don’t. A ticket with Spirit will get you and a personal item from A to B.

  1. Options

They call it Frill Control

They believe in paying only for what you use, not what you don’t. You get to control your options and never pay for someone else’s “free” bags.

  1. Fresh planes

They have a fit fleet

Spirit has one of the youngest fleets flying. They’re safe and fuel-efficient, and that saves you money.

  1. Cozy seating

They are plane simple

Spirit adds more seats to their planes because when you fly with more people, the cost per person goes down. The seats are simple: they don’t recline, so you don’t wind up with someone’s head in your lap.

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Still want the extras?

Spirit has them! While the Bare Fare doesn’t include extras that certain passengers may not want – you can absolutely still have them. They have a great menu filled with water, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, muffins and snacks that can be purchased. Click HERE to check out the menu.

A few other extras that you can purchase prior to your flight if you would like are:

-Travel Insurance

-The Big Front Seat

-Carry On Bag

-Check In Luggage

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Spirit Pro Tips

To help save you time and money while traveling with Spirit:

  • Buy bags early: If you know you’re going to need a checked bag or carry-on, buy it early and online to save major money.
  • Personal item included: One personal item is included in the Bare Fare – something like a purse or small backpack
  • They’re light on legroom: Spirits a cozy airline. They add extra seats to our planes so we can fly with more people.
  • Get the big front seat: For a little extra cash you can secure the Big Front Seat.
  • Print your pass at home: Save yourself some money and print your boarding pass at home. It costs you $10 to print at the airport.
  • Refreshments for purchase: Your Bare Fare doesn’t include refreshments – even water. Beat the system by filling up a water bottle after security.
  • Travel insurance is available: They don’t give refunds if your plans change. Insurance is available to protect you from the unexpected.
  • Join the $9 Fare Club: Looking to save even more? Join the $9 Fare Club for access to exclusive travel deals and special bag prices.

What is the $9 Fare Club?

When you join the $9 Fare Club, you’ll get exclusive access to some of the lowest fares available, as well as discounted prices on bags. Plus, you’ll get special deals that are available only to members of the $9 Fare Club. Joining costs only $59.95.

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I’m a big fan of budget airlines because they take you where you need to go at a super affordable price. My experience flying Spirit was great! The seats were comfy and the plane staff was helpful. Click HERE to head to their site to plan your next getaway!

Thank you to Cybex for sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.

When you become a parent, there are a million things you will worry about, but the safety of your little one while driving should’t be one. I have partnered with Cybex to break down all of the protection features on their latest car seat – the Sirona M with SensorSafe 2.0.

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The Sirona M with SensorSafe 2.0 was developed to prevent the rising number of hot infant car deaths and even goes a step further to actually monitor the well being of your child while the vehicle is in motion through the smart chest clip. If your child is accidentally left alone or unbuckles themselves, the essential alert will go off through the caregiver’s cellphone (the app is not required to receive alerts so you can focus on safe driving) as well as the receiver that is installed in your vehicles OBD2 port. This state-of-the-art safety technology is designed so there is no need to reinstall each time you drive, just keep the receiver plugged for peace of mind during your daily drives. The app is also super user friendly and provides guidance on installation, how-to videos, FAQ’s and more to help prevent misuse.

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We spend a lot of time in the car between daycare drop offs, visiting family and road trips so safety and comfort will always be my #1 concern when it comes to Victor. Another one of our favorite features of the Cybex Sirona M with SensorSafe 2.0 is the adjustable linear side impact protection system which increases the safety if their is a side impact collision. When used properly, it can reduce side impact forces by up to 25%.DSC_0038

Since making the switch to the Sirona M with SensorSafe 2.0, Victor points out every morning how much he loves his car seat. To hear a 2.5 year old kid be so vocal about something like that is pretty funny but it makes me feel good knowing he’s riding comfortably but also safe!

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Retailing for $329.99, the Cybex Sirona M with SensorSafe 2.0 is the All Star of car seats. It’s priced amazing, it will grow with your child from newborn to 65lbs but best and most of all is reliable and safe. Click HERE to get more information on all the amazing features the Sirona M with SensorSafe 2.0 has.