#MotivationMonday :: Victory

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Happy Monday my loves!

I hope everyone had an amazing and beautiful weekend!

My mom always sends me the most inspiring quotes from different people and truly it always turns my day around. She sent this to me the other day when it seemed like I was having endless struggles with no resolutions in sight. I read this, took a deep breath, closed my eyes and prayed for patience and for clarity and to be proactive about the things that I could personally control in that moment.

Monday’s can be hard. Maybe because the weekend is over, or we are feeling tired, or maybe there is a huge elephant sitting on your shoulders and there is just to much to deal with this week let alone today. That being said, because of all the pressure we are facing sometimes we forget the most essential things we can do to mentally clear our head and hearts and focus on what truly matters and is in our control.

It’s always darkest before dawn and whatever challenges you are facing today, keep in mind that you aren’t alone, and they most definitely won’t last. Keep your heart filled with faith, hope, love, and patience.

:: Tip ::

1. Get up and stretch, go for a walk, work out first thing. When our bodies are moving and working it helps clear our minds.

2. Take a moment before the work day starts to write out the things you are grateful for and also a list of goals you want to accomplish throughout the day. Keep these goals small and attainable so that no matter what you can do them, check them off, and end your day feeling productive and happy.

3. If you are capable of taking a break during your work day, do it! Even if you have a pile of things to get done a mile high, you will have a clear head and work more efficiently if you allow yourself time to zone out. Go for a walk, sit outside, journal, read something non related to work.

4. End your day with a pat on the back for the things you DID accomplish, have a glass of wine, or tea, and prepare for the next day. And I like to personally tell myself everyday, don’t be so hard on yourself!

xo Jaclyn

Backyard Travels with JT Ed. 2 Part 2: Avon

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Happy Thursday my loves!

I have really enjoyed writing up these Backyard Travels with JT and today I am transporting us back to Avon, NC. This was my first time actually staying in Avon, and I loved it. In the past I have stayed at a family friends home in Buxton, so it was a nice change of pace and scenery. This house also had a pool, which I think is an absolute must because even though you have the sound and the ocean to choose from, you can swim there all day everyday. It’s especially great if you are traveling with kids because its safe and convenient. One thing I love to do while traveling is ask any locals what their favorite place to eat is, and what their favorite thing to do during their free time is. We got a lot of great recommendations this trip and most of the places did not disappoint. I hope you enjoy Avon just as much as we did!

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:: Where to Stay ::

As I mentioned in my previous post we rented a house here in Avon through the Surf or Sound Realty which would be my first recommendation. However, if all you want to do is get your toes wet and start small, I have asked around and researched the best places to stay Resort/Hotel wise in the Avon area.

1. Koru Village Resort and Spa – This place has so many amazing amenities to it! Plus it is on the higher end scale.

2. Avon Motel – You’ve got a bed, you’ve got a beach…what more do you need.

3. Sands of Time Camp Ground – for the more rustic travelers.

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:: Where to Eat ::

It’s not that I just like to eat, but I love to eat and I appreciate food…any and all food. So this is usually the number one thing I research before I travel. Obviously you can find  fresh, yummy, amazingly delicious fish and seafood anywhere in the Outer Banks.  But here it’s with out the outrageous price points. The following were by far my favorite places for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.

-Breakfast-

Typically we made our own breakfast at the house but these places were also super delicious.

1. Oceana’s Bistro (Great for Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)

-Lunch-

1. Top Dog – This place is a town away in Waves, however it is the closest to Avon which is why I am including it here. They have amazing fish tacos!

2. Froggy Dog – This place was pretty much our go to. Big bar area, tv’s which was crucial since it was the Stanley Cup Playoffs. GO HAWKS!

-Dinner-

1. Pangea – I absolutely loved this place. It is right by the Avon Pier, has an awesome ambiance, AND of course great food. There is a park in the back, a beautiful beer garden and the night we ate there, they had a stand up comedian on the patio. Two thumbs up for sure.

2. Catch 55 – make sure to get there early, or later. Place fills up fast.

-Dessert-

Last but not least, dessert. Now there is a Dairy Queen, and it was walking distance from our house, which we did frequent for the first two nights there since the Jurrasic Blizzard was all the rage. But then my sister-in-law found this magical pink and orange house that had THE best desserts, we refused to search for anything else in the area!

1. Island Time Cups & Cones

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Butter Pecan Ice Cream…my favorite…of all time!

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:: What to Do ::

1. Avon Pier: You have to pay to get on the actual pier, but you can fish without getting a license. We also posted up there one day underneath the pier for shade while we played in the sand, went boogie boarding, and watched the surfers.

2. Water Sports: You can rent anything you want through Ocean Atlantic Rentals, whether it be bikes, kayaks, SUP boards, etc. They also have tons of awesome Rental shops with local’s who are great at giving lessons. For instance, the one thing I wanted to try but couldn’t fit in time wise was kite-boarding. Different from wind-surfing, which is another awesome thing to try out on the sound. The sound is a great, safe and easy place to learn, mostly because it is very shallow, but also because of the way the wind flows through there you can get an epic ride 100’s of yards out. You can learn more about the different water sports and lessons here. This was the best place in the Avon area I read about.

3. Beach It- There are so many different beaches to choose from. Some smaller ones on the sound side, and pretty much the whole east side of Avon is a beach on the ocean, duh! Just make sure to bring an umbrella, the sun’s game is strong there! We mostly hung out at the beach by the Avon Pier, which was nice since it had the outdoor showers, and a bathroom.

4. Klub Koru – The house we rented has a standing membership with the Klub Koru so we had access to all the amenities without having to pay an extra fee. This is definitely an unbelievable resort and definitely worth looking into. They offer Yoga classes on the beach, concerts, and beach club parties for adults and teens, so the whole family can enjoy.

5. Relax! This is an obvious one, yet I feel people always need to have a set itinerary and every second of everyday has to be utilized. Let me just say, we packed in a ton of activities, but our favorite days were just sleeping in, having breakfast, getting out on the sound via SUP board or kayak, and then just swim and lay by the pool all day. Letting your mind turn off and just finding balance in your life is the best thing a person can do for themselves and those around them.

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And of course, you do not want to miss the epic sunsets the Sound Pamlico has to offer!

Thank you so much for stopping by and going back to Avon with me. These photos are making me miss it real bad. I hope you loved it as much as we did, and please if you have been there or have any questions, please leave your comments below. I would love to know!

xo Jaclyn

Backyard Travels with JT Ed. 2 Part 1: OBX

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Happy Tuesday my loves!

Let me first start off by saying, Cape Hatteras, NC, or OBX to some, may possibly be one of my favorite places in the U.S. I know I still have a lot of places yet to visit. But here, on the Outer Banks, there’s just something more, something I feel…an energy and vibe I get that I haven’t gotten anywhere else. As you know, I love to travel. But this place, this place is serenity, it’s adventure, it’s new every time. Having been there 4 times now, mingling with the locals, diving in the deep end, jiving with the first mates, I feel I have enough background to do a solid post for #BackyardtravelswithJT and I’m so excited to share one of my favorite places with you. But to start off, I first want to show you where the outer banks are!

originalAs you can see from the map, the Outer Banks of North Carolina are just off the Northern Coast of the state. These hidden gems are absolutely worth making a trip to see and experience. The Pamlico Sound side of the Outer Banks offers a ton of amazing water sports such as kiteboarding, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, windsurfing, swimming, and the occasional stingray sighting. There is also some amazing sightseeing to do such as the Avon Pier, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, and Ocracoke Island where Blackbeard the Pirate once frequented.  The outer banks truly have so much to offer for adults and kids a like. So much that I am going to break down this Edition of Backyard Travels into 4 parts.

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Today for Part 1, I am going to talk more logistics; how to get there, grocery shopping, liquor shopping, renting anything and everything you might need, when to book, and where to stay.  Part 2 will be all about Avon. Part 3 Buxton and Frisco. Finally Part 4 will be my favorite, Ocracoke. Let’s get started!

8Suitcases: Samsonite Spinner Luggage

:: How to get there ::

We flew from Chicago O’hare into Norfolk, VA. This is the closest international airport and is still a 2 1.5 – 3 hour drive into the OBX. You will need to rent a car no matter what. Typically the house rental check-ins/outs are Saturday to Saturday. That being said if you are flying in on a Saturday fly early, and drive early. Otherwise be prepared to sit in traffic. What we did for this last trip was fly in late Friday night, stayed at a hotel close to the airport, and then drove out early Saturday morning to beat the traffic. There is plenty to see and do along the way. This is also the perfect time to get your grocery shopping done. Don’t forget to stop at the dunes on your way to wiggle your toes in the sand and maybe have a beer or two!

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Cheers to vacation!

mePants: Young Fabulous & Broke Hat: Eugenia Kim Boots: Sam Edelman

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My niece is obsessed with planes, and has become a very good flyer. I have no personal advice for flying with kids, yet, seeing that I have none. BUT Taza one of my favorite bloggers has an amazing article all about traveling with kids if you are interested.

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This place was open late, and regardless of the fact that we were starving, it was really yummy!

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One must always stop at a Waffle House for a waffle, right?

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On our way!

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My favorite beer…of all time…ALL time!

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Tip::

This picture reminded me of a very important recommendation I would like to make, so listen up! Since we went during the summer, it was hot, sunny, and incredibly beautiful. However, the sand was hotter than he**! The beaches are very wide and long so be smarter than us, bring water shoes, or gym shoes anything really to protect your feet while you walk on the beach.

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:: Grocery Shopping ::

I am a sucker for Farmer Markets. Truly they make me oddly happy and excited. So luckily for us, on the drive from Norfolk to the OBX, there are a few places in the countryside that offer fresh, amazing produce. This is one thing I consider a necessity but it is also part of the experience. We’ve stopped at a few different places in the past, but Powell’s Road Side Market is my favorite. It might also be because I have a thing for red barns…Located right on US Route 168, it’s conveniently on the way to the Outer Banks. There will also be plenty of actual grocery stores on the drive in, but I would recommend stopping in whichever town you are staying at. Food Lion Grocery Store is one of the main stores located on the different islands. This is also something I would recommend doing fast and early, especially since it’s typically the first thing on everyone’s list so it gets a little cray cray in the store.

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Tip ::

Since there was so many of us we pre-planned our meals so we could create a grocery list of what was needed, but then also had a wishlist from everyone. This made shopping a lot easier and everyone was fed & happy. Whatever you don’t eat that’s still sealed you can leave for the realty company and they will donate it to the food bank. I mean, how amazing is that!

1425Dress: Hollister Shoes: Converse (Custom)

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:: Liquor and Beer Shopping ::

Something like this doesn’t seem to warrant its own section, but it does. First of all, the state of North Carolina still has strict laws about liquor and also controls the sale of it. That being said, if you want to make yummy Mai Tai’s on your vacation, you can, you are just limited to the places where you can purchase the liquor and how much you can purchase. Beer and wine on the other hand, is so extremely convenient and might I say fun to buy out there. Let me introduce you to the ‘Brew Thru’!

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Bru Thru’s are located once you hit the Kitty Hawk area and will continue on pretty much until Rodanthe. This would be the time I would recommend buying your beer and wine and stocking up. Literally, you drive thru as if you were going through a fast food line, put your order in, and they’ll even put it in the trunk for you!

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We stopped at ABC Liquor in Dare County, Nags Head before heading into Avon. Highly, highly recommend making the stop here and stocking up on whatever your liquor choices may be. They had literally everything. Once you get into the Avon, Buxton area there’s few places if any to buy liquor aside from dining out.

Cheers!

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:: Where to stay and how to Book ::

The best way, in my opinion, to truly experience the Outer Banks is by renting a house.  We went through the Surf or Sound Realty Company. Their site is so easy to navigate and gives you thorough pictures and pricing of the different houses you can stay at. We rented house #677 – Tarpon Watch, and she was amazing! Right on the canal to the sound and only 2 blocks away from the beach and ocean. I’d also recommend visiting their site when booking for vacation planning, as they have up to date event calendars and things to do during your stay. You can book through them 51 weeks in advance, and I highly recommend you book ASAP. Preview their homes and find the one you love with the location you want and set a date. These places go fast, I promise!

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Some of the most colorful sunsets I’ve seen.

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:: Water Sport and Home Rentals ::

Last but not least, let’s talk about rentals. Most houses will NOT have cribs, pack’n’plays, linens, water sport equipment, lawn chairs, umbrellas, etc. Let me just say, do not let that deter you from coming here. Ocean Atlantic Rentals needs to be bookmarked for your next stay in the Outer Banks right now. Not only do they have everything you need or want, its at a great price, AND they will deliver; drop off and pick up at no extra charge! It is built into their rental cost, which is usually for a full week or two. On our trip we rented two cribs, two stand up paddle boards, and a kayak. It was delivered there and waiting for us as soon as we arrived. On our departure day, we set the rentals out front, and they came for pick up. No fuss.

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I truly hope you found this post helpful and inspiring. Please let me know what you thought and if you have traveled or plan on traveling to the OBX. I’d love to hear about your travels. Keep a look out for the 2nd Part of our trip, which will be all about Avon.

xo Jaclyn

#MotivationMonday :: Post Holiday/Weekend Detox

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Happy Monday my loves!

You may think I am crazy, but I truly enjoy Monday’s. I feel motivated, strong, driven, and with a fresh mind to conquer the week. I haven’t dealt with any issues or BS yet, so why not set the vibe of the week strong and energetic, know what I am saying? Well, even if you don’t, I have a remedy for you.

The following are just a few things that I personally enjoy doing to detox my mind and body, while gaining a bit of balance back in my life after a holiday weekend or even from traveling. I hope you try some of these tips and tricks, but that you also find them useful. Let me know what you think in the comments AND if you have any fun detox remedies.

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1: Spa Day/Night at Home

Usually on Sunday nights, after the long weekend, I love a good bubble bath. Its calming, soothing, therapeutic, good for your muscles and especially for your mind. This is the time I like to detoxify the exterior of my body and just turn my brain on silent (for at least a minute, or two).

Lush

To prepare, I always put in a Lavender Epson Salt. The lavender oil is calming to your senses and the Epson Salt helps relax and repair your muscles. This sets the perfect tone for relaxation even if your mind and brain are still running on high speed from the weekend. Then, I add my favorite bubble bath of course. My favorites are from Lush, the bath bombs are literally the bomb.com (pun intended). They use natural ingredients, don’t test on animals, and won’t buy from suppliers who test on animals. I love them. They are on the pricey side, so I like to save them for nights I need serious relaxation when detoxing.

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Next thing I like to do while soaking and relaxing, is to put a deep conditioner treatment on my hair for about 15-20 minutes, a face mask, and a body scrub. During this time, I’ll also turn on my Pandora Spa Radio station, for a more ‘Spa Like’ experience (occasionally sip on some tea, or a good glass of red wine).

Products

Hair ::  L’Oreal Paris Total Repair – Recovery Mask

Face :: Murad Clarifying Mask

Body :: Naples Soap Company Sea Salt Scrub and Body Butter

Teeth :: Crest 3D White ‘Gentle’ Routine

Nightly Face Products :: Origins High-Potency Night-A-Mins and All Purpose High-Elevation Cream

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2 : Meal Prep

The next thing that is essential for me to have a successful week of detoxing is meal prepping. My diet is typically the same week to week, but while detoxing and trying to level out my body, I like to eat lean, clean, and mean! However, that being said, once my week starts I have very little time to go shopping or prep or even think about what I am going to eat. So, on Sundays I will sit down and write out a weekly meal plan. Now I know you are probably thinking, “OCD much?!?” but the reality is, I know by doing this, personally for me, it works and it sets my week up to eat healthy and on budget. I dare you to try it for 2 weeks and see the benefits this process actually withholds.

Meal-Prep::Sundays::

1. Write up meals for the week and have recipes on hand.

2. Check your kitchen for what you need and make a grocery list.

3. Grocery Shop and get all ingredients for the week.

4. Meal Prep – Anything from cutting up fruit, making rice, quinoa, chicken, and measuring out into containers lettuce veggies or meat.

I plan on doing a more thorough post on Meal Prepping and setting yourself up for success when trying to achieve a healthy eating lifestyle.

SmoothieI could never do just a juicing detox. My body needs more sustenance and I know that. But while I am detoxing my body and eating an extra healthy diet, here are a few beverages I like to incorporate into my daily routine.

:: AM :: Lemon Water

First thing in the morning before food or even coffee, I have a hot water with lemon. Lemons are packed with so many amazing nutrients including vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. It -reduces inflamation -aids digestion -It flushes out the toxins in your body -boosts your immune system  and -actually gives your body an energy boost!

:: Mid-day :: Tropical Green Detox and a Coconut Water

You can make this green monster of a smoothie drink at home, but I get mine from the smoothie stand inside my local market. Rich in antioxidants, it helps in the fight against cell-damaging free radicals. You also get out of this yummy smoothie calcium, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A, C, E and K.  ‘As its name suggests, this drink helps ease digestion and improve the detoxifying functions of the liver!’

Manuka-Honey

 :: PM :: Apple Cider Vinegar and Manuka Honey Tea

Apple cider vinegar has so many external and internal benefits. I love to make a tea out of it at nighttime before bed. It can -balance your digestive system, whiten teeth (however it is very abrasive so you don’t want to do it often) and – clear up your skin.

Manuka Honey also has some amazing benefits to it as well.

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3 : Workout

My final and most obvious remedy is to workout. Whatever it may be, I just like to be active for 30 min to an hour everyday doing something. Because I am a list maker (whatever works best for you) I like to plan out my workouts ahead of time same as my meals. This way I can mentally prepare myself and fit it into my daily schedule so I have no excuses. After a vacation or holiday or even a long weekend, we tend to feel a bit tired and lethargic, but the only way to counter act these feelings IS to work out. Your body needs it and it will 100% thank you after your done.

Mind.Body.Spirit :: Just Do It

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I hope that you found these detox remedies helpful or inspiring. Please let me know what you think in the comments below and if you have any recommendations. I always love to try new things. As always, thank you for stopping by!

xo Jaclyn

‘Let your smile change the world. Not the world change your smile’