Tulum, Mexico

posted on: Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Josh and I have just returned from a dreamy and much too short visit to Tulum, Mexico and I thought I'd share a bit about our trip here. When we decided to get married in January nine years ago we thought what good luck it will be to get to use our anniversary as an excuse to escape the cold Ohio winters and head somewhere warm each January to celebrate. Well, here we are nine years in and this is the very first time we've actually done just that. Turns out vacationing directly after the big holiday season is not that practical...in hindsight a September or October wedding would have been ideal. So, anyone out there who might be planning a wedding - learn from our mistake!  

So anyway, this year we finally did it. This was the first time to Mexico for both Josh and I and I think it completely exceeded both of our expectations. We stayed at the most beautiful hotel, with cabana type rooms overlooking the ocean and jungle. It's very rustic, with no electricity or wifi and only candlelight to light your way in the evenings. It felt a lot like climbing around an amazing adult sized treehouse! (In fact, it is an adults only hotel and clothing optional as well so you need to leave the kiddos at home for this one ;) Having no phones or tv or even a hair dryer took a little getting used to, but we could hear the waves crashing on the beach from our cabana at night and the experience more than made up for any inconvenience.

The day we arrived we had to take a transfer from the Cancun airport about an hour and a half south to Tulum, so a lot of our first day was eaten up by travel. Nevertheless, we wanted to get out there and see some sights before the day ended so we headed over to the Mayan ruins just a short way up the road. We arrived at about 4:15 and discovered the normal hours for entry ended at 4:30 but for a few extra pesos you could buy an evening pass into the grounds after normal visiting hours ended and see the ruins during the most beautiful time of day, sunset. We jumped at the opportunity and after waiting for all the guests to leave and the place to clear out they let those of us with evening passes in to explore on our own away from the crowds. It was perfect! There were maybe only 10 other people in there with us, and once everyone spread out in all directions, it was like having the place all to ourselves.

The next few days we spent getting to know the rest of Tulum. We ate at some really amazing restaurants, our favorites being the Kitchen Table with their perfectly salty pork ribs and pan fried whole octopus and Hechizo where we had an incredibly romantic candlelit meal beach side with a full moon shining overhead. The restaurant choices are seemingly endless, all offering (for the most part) an organic, farm to table cuisine, and we didn't have a bad meal the entire trip.  Walking through the main stretch of town there are so many boutique hotels and well curated shops to pop into as well. What I was most excited about was getting to see the Coqui Coqui hotel and perfumerie in Tulum. There are a few Coqui Coqui locations throughout the Yucatan Peninsula and I was beyond thrilled to get to finally see one in person. (I actually saw two! We took a day trip to Chichen Itza and made special arrangements to stop by the Coqui Coqui in Valladolid on our way back. More on that to come in another post!) The interiors nerd in me was going wild and I brought home a bottle of perfume that looks as good as it smells, which alllllmost justified the price tag ;) Good design you guys, it gets me every time.

Our last day in town we rented a car and drove north to Akumal Bay where we rental snorkel gear for the day and snorkeled with gigantic sea turtles, lots of pretty fish and some big old sting rays as well. When you get there they try to talk you into paying for a guided snorkeling excursion which gets you into the "protected areas" that you're not allowed into without a guide, but we saw plenty of wildlife just going out on our own. We also drove over to Yal Ku Lagoon which we'd heard had great snorkeling but the water was hazy that day and we didn't see much while we were there. We ate breakfast and lunch nearby in Akumal and both places were spot on delicious. Turtle Bay Cafe and Bakery for breakfast and at La Lunita for lunch. I would definitely recommend both if you're ever in the area.

But my favorite part of the whole day was getting to see the absolutely unbelievable Cenote Nicte Ha. A cenote, if you're not familiar with what one is, is an underground sinkhole filled with freshwater. These are dotted all along the Yucatan, but this one in particular was on my must see list. It is truly breathtaking. We arrived first thing in the morning and were the only people there. I'm not exaggerating when I say it is one of the most beautiful, serene and tranquil places I have ever seen. Lily pads float atop the blue green waters and you can slip into the caves around it's edges and swim through the cool, quiet, darkness. It's hard to believe a place like this really exists in nature. What a world we live in.

I have one more post coming about our day trip to Chichen Itza, so stay tuned for more on Mexico soon ;)

The Master Bedroom!

posted on: Monday, January 18, 2016

Who here is ready for some good old fashioned before and after porn? These are my favorite type of posts to read on other blogs and of course it's even better to write one of these posts myself when it's my own home that's gotten a facelift in some way. Today I've got before and after photos of my bedroom. It has been long neglected since it's so easy to put off redoing a space that no one ever really sees except us.  But after over two years of living in a room with no rug, no window treatments, no new paint (except the one door we did when we painted the hallway) it was way past time. Again, this isn't a public space and there are other areas of the house I'd much rather spend money on (hello, kitchen floor!) so I didn't want to buy all new everything in here. If you remember from the mood board I did way back when, we planned on keeping our existing bed, dresser and nightstands and only purchase new for the things we were missing. Below are a few photos I snapped before we started the renovations. Quality is poor and I somehow managed to forget to get an image of the broken ceiling fan/light fixture we inherited with no cover and awesome exposed bulbs. You'll just have use your imagination ;) 

...and now!

Hooray! I no longer have to hide this room behind closed doors like the ugly stepchild that it once was! The blue stripe is gone! So! Many! Exclamation! Points!!!! 

Ha, but seriously it's amazing what a little paint and lots of new lighting can do for a space. I also added a rug, new bedding and some accessories and we were in business. I have no idea what took us so long but thank god it's finally under control in here. I can sleep so much easier now ;)

Source list:

Wall color is Skimming Stone from Farrow & Ball, Bedding, floral pillow is custom made with fabric I ordered here, sconces, ceiling fan/light, area rug, mirror, lamp on dresser


posted on: Monday, January 11, 2016

Hi friends! The new year is off to a hectic start over here, how about you? I'm finding it harder and harder to keep up with this blog and the primary reason being one very cute, very demanding little 14 month old. She has always required a lot of attention, but this is next level. Ever has reached the separation anxiety phase, and oh boy, is this a good one. (In fact, as I sit here writing this she is on my lap nursing). Baby girl does not let me out of her sight. If I'm at work or out of the house for some reason she does fine when she's left with someone she's familiar with. But if I'm home, it's game over. I am not allowed to do anything without her. It's sweet and also frustrating, but since this is almost the exact age and situation we went through with Oren (see, proof!) I know it will soon pass. In the meantime I'm just doing my best to enjoy her wanting to be attached to me every minute of every day. I mean, there are definitely worse things ;)

She is growing by leaps and bounds, too! She is a dancing machine. She gives us a million kisses and hugs a day. She says ma, dad, yeah, no, wow and a few other adorable words and sounds. She understands so much more than she can say too. You can just see her little brain working when you're talking to her. If you ask her to, she can point out her hair, belly, toes, nose and tongue. And if you ask her to bring you something she almost always returns with the correct item. She's also got quite an ornery streak in her as well. She loves undoing freshly folded laundry and giggling hysterically over it when you catch her flinging folded shirts and pants backwards over her head. She loves running away from you laughing when you try to chase her down for a diaper change. And a favorite game is sneaking into the bathroom and throwing my hand towels into the toilet. She basically cracks herself up all day long and no one is funnier to Ever than Ever herself. I think this is a good quality.

Surprisingly, despite the separation anxiety she has been also simultaneously weaning herself off of co-sleeping. I'm not sure how that even works either, don't worry. When people would ask me how long I planned to co-sleep with the baby this time I'd say, "We're on the eighteen year plan" (#last baby.) But seriously, I was/am in NO hurry to be done with our night long cuddle sessions. Plus she's still waking up once a night to nurse and the convenience of co-sleeping just cannot be beat. But a couple of weeks ago she started doing this thing where she would continuously crawl out of bed as we tried to settle into sleep. Even though she was visibly tired, she just refused to lay down. After chasing her down and trying to re-settle her a few times with no luck I finally resorted to the crib. And wouldn't you know it, she settled right down and fell asleep. So now I'd say 4/7 nights a week if she won't settle down in bed with me to sleep I ask her if she wants to go to her crib and she'll nod yes. I'll take her in there, tuck in her in and sing to her until she falls asleep. Not a whine or cry out of her! Granted, I have to stay in there with her until she falls asleep, but it's like literally five minutes. It just reinforces my parenting philosophy that everything will happen in it's own time and there's no need to rush or force stressful transitions onto our kiddos. They know when they're ready...even if we're not. ;)

Speaking of not ready...Oren lost a tooth! I say lost, but really it was forcefully removed due to a huge gum abscess and infection at the root. (Why is it always, always OREN?!) It was rather traumatizing for everyone. Including the dentist whom he bit. It was the worst. Until, the next night when I realized a big chunk of the tooth directly next to the former tooth, now gaping hole in his perfect smile, was also now missing. Somehow it broke off during the course of the day and we were back in the dentist's office the following morning to have THAT tooth repaired. He cheered up once he found five dollars under his pillow from the tooth fairy but I do not wish to repeat any of that experience ever again. My poor buddy and his poor gap toothed smile. :(

In really, really, really good news though...we found Lincoln a new home! If you saw on facebook, we've been trying to re-home him for a few months now and hadn't been having any luck. Shortly after Ever was born he started acting out. Though he was never mean to her directly, he was hell bent on destroying all of her things. It was clear he jealous and wanted to assert his dominance in the household. We held out hope for a really long time that it would get better. Instead it just seemed to get worse. (She's 14 months now and the issues were still ongoing). But with the help of my friend/co-worker he is now living the good life as the only pet and companion to a sweet woman who's older cat died awhile ago. That picture up there at the top is one she sent of him curled up snoozing at her place. Fingers crossed things continue to go well over there and that he is hopefully much happier now!

And lastly in this episode of what's new with the Booths -- Josh and I celebrated nine years of marriage on the 6th of this month! We went to brunch Saturday at Trentina for a little celebration and it was perfection. And we've got a little Mexican getaway to look forward to here soon, so we're doing our best to acknowledge that accomplishment and make time for each other despite everything else we always have going on. Next year is the big one-zero and I'm already full of ideas on how we're going to celebrate that milestone in a big way. I already can't wait, and I also can't believe how fast these years are going. I guess time flies when you're having fun, right Josh? ;)

We also managed to (after months of slowly chipping away at it) finish re-doing our master bedroom. Remember this post from, oh, JULY??!! Well, I am overjoyed to report that once one final little lamp arrives that I've got on order that room is done. DONE! I'll be posting those pictures hopefully this weekend. It only took us 6 months, what's one more week, right?

So that's what's up lately. How about you guys? January treating you well so far?

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