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Hello...Anyone There? New Mexico Part 1

While I didn't intend to take a 4 month break from blogging, whoops! Tonight I just got the urge to write, and to write for me and no one else. I write a lot for work on other sites, and I type a lot for Aaron, and so some days (i.e. most) I just don't want to open a laptop one more time. 

But I feel the need to document this trip because my memory isn't what it used to be. What am I even saying, I have never had a good memory! 

This year Aaron decided a few months ago that he wanted to plan our anniversary trip. 18 years! So I said go for it! One trip I didn't need to plan? That's my idea of heaven. 

He told me the day before we left that I would need to pack for both 35 degree weather and 75 degree weather. Three nights, and activities ranging from hikes to water to relaxation. Oooookkk.

We got to the airport and he wouldn't budge, had my passport and my boarding pass and even through TSA check point I was clueless where we were headed. My one clue was we were west of the Mississippi River and since geography is not my strength, that's pretty much the worst clue you could ever give me. 

We got to the gate and it said Denver, Colorado! So we were going to Colorado! And I've never been to Colorado. The first photo is of us on the plane with me thinking we were going to Colorado lol. I was stoked. We landed, walked out the gate and headed to, not the exit? Where in the world could we be walking? But since of the aforementioned geography issues I have, I just followed my man and kept silent. We arrived at a second gate and I realized we were about to board another plane! To....New Mexico! Which you already knew because of the title of this post. Check out the size of the second plane we took! Ai yi yi. 

We landed in Santa Fe and I was now more excited than ever. You see about a year ago I was looking at where to go for our 17th year anniversary and I checked out flights to Taos and told Aaron how expensive they were, and we would just have to scrap that idea. I didn't really think about it again. So you can imagine my delight to find out we were headed to New Mexico. 

Is that not the cutest airport you've ever seen?! We grabbed our rental car, which he also had planned and we were off to destination #1. He had planned each night and meals and activities, and I was on a strict need to know basis. 

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We checked into this little B&B where he had a vase of fresh flowers waiting for me. If I had to rank our three evenings, this hotel was probably #3, it was a little older, I thought it was adorable with the fireplace, but it could've used some upgrades. Aaron wasn't impressed, but honestly I was prepping myself for camping, so this was stellar! The breakfast was amazing the next morning however. Green chile stew to die for. After we checked in we walked into the plaza of town and just explored. We ate at this amazing restaurant called The Shed and we found ourselves our first pieces of turquoise. 

The next day after breakfast we packed up the car and did a little souvenir shopping in town for the kids and headed north. Again, I had no idea where we were going but I was beyond happy to be road tripping with Aaron. We stopped for lunch at Orlando's which was so good! We got to Taos and walked around a bit before heading to that night's accommodations. Which you will have to wait to find out all about in Part 2....

10 Things - Tuesday Edition

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Happy Tuesday! And since it's been forever since I've checked in, let's get right to a 10 Things post...

1. We got Disney passes! We went a few weeks ago and as the day progressed my whole family debated on putting our normal day tickets toward the purchase of annual passes. By 4pm we were convinced we needed them back in our lives. 

2. Aaron got a promotion at work, and while I am so proud of him, man working his old job and new job are tough. A replacement can't be hired soon enough! I've been picking up the slack at home, and mama's tired too. 

3. We got rid of cable. If you follow me on instagram you may have watched my whole insta story debate on why we got rid of it and how happy we are without it! We haven't missed it yet, and it's been almost 3 weeks. Looking forward to saving the $50 a month too!

4. I added this to my Amazon wish list last week, I am pretty sure all my kids would fight over it though.  

5. I recently listened to Oprah Winfrey's podcast where she interviewed Joe Biden. It was about the death of his son and it kind of broke my heart. I didn't know he lost his wife and newborn daughter many years ago, and then to lose his son recently. Heart wrenching. 

6. We took our first family bike ride of 2018 this past weekend and it reminded me that winter means blinking lights needed to be ordered pronto! It gets so dark so early. Looking forward to the days getting longer and longer now. We ordered these

7. I have discovered Ebates, and let me tell you, wow the money I could've been getting back! If you already use it, you can skip to #8. But if not, I gotta give you a quick rundown. I happen to do a lot of online shopping, Amazon, Target, you name it. So first I go to the ebates website, I type in the store I want to shop at, and it redirects me to the right website. It's kind of like a portal, and depending on the store, for every purchase you get cash back. Some stores are only 1%, but most are 3-6%. Gap the other day was 10%! Every three months they deposit your cash back into your PayPal account. How have I not known about this sooner? At first I couldn't really tell if it worked, but the first purchase took a few days and before I knew it, I had a little cash back balance growing. I honestly just head there every time before I shop and I would say I get about $10-15 back each month. Bonus, if you join through that link you will automatically get $10 deposited into your account once you start using it. I just bought you a salad. :)

8. After all these years, I think (10!), we are finally in the market for a new tent! This summer we are going to be zipping up a quiet tent, woohoo!

9. Have you guys checked out the Target collaboration with the brand with JoyLab? I have to say, I'm super impressed with their workout clothes. Great quality, the fit is awesome, and the price is perfect. Our Target didn't have a ton in stock, but I did manage to snag a few pieces online. And with my red card 5% discount, and the ebates cash back, well I just couldn't say no. 

10. Naps are basically the best thing in the world. I never ever thought I would say that, but my 37 year old mind and body loves them. 

Favorite Things Party - 2017 Edition

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One of the most popular blog posts of My Life at Playtime has been How to Host a Favorite Things Party. And I love it! I love that so many find themselves here from Pinterest and googling how to throw a favorite things party, and ideas of what to get as their favorite thing. Since it's been awhile I decided it would be fun to share some 2017 highlights from a recent Favorite Things party. 

A girlfriend and I decided to throw it a bit last minute and just crossed our fingers our friends would be in town. We split the guest list and got to work planning around our favorite things, which happened to be pink, a fun British cocktail that my co-host rocked, and the most delicious food we could put together! Who doesn't love girlfriends, yummy food, a delicious themed cocktail, and presents? Sign us up!

I got to work on my charcuterie board skills and was quite pleased with the end result. For reference I had rosemary sprigs as accents throughout the board(s), since I ran out of space for one board, we had 2. I served white truffle salami (everything by the way can be found at Trader Joe's), caper berries, truffle almonds, dried figs cut in half, fresh grapes, rosemary crackers, mini pickles(forget the proper name), potato chips, raw almonds, olives, and satsuma oranges. It was delicious if I do say so myself. Some of the other appetizers we prepared and others friends brought to share include:

  • caprese salad
  • lentil dip with chips
  • roasted gorgonzola on baguettes
  • humus and crudite platter
  • guacamole
  • shaved brussel sprout salad 
  • assorted cheeses and crackers
  • meringue and marscapone
  • homemade cookies
  • 3-ingredient fudge which I will have to share in another post
  • and MORE!

 

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For our cocktail of the night we had Pimm's which apparently is a proper British drink, often served during an afternoon watching Wimbledon. So of course we served it! To make at home you might want to double check my amounts, but I'm guessing equal parts Pimm's and either sparkling lemonade or Sprite. Cut up strawberries, cucumbers, mint and oranges and add ice in a big pitcher. In separate cups we garnished them with smaller pieces of fruit on the cutest pink flamingo drink stirrers. They were DEElicious!

An easy list of supplies for our drinks, plates and serving ware:

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And now for the presents! The first photo is what I gave as my favorite things. I went with multiple items this year as opposed to my usual one item. Our item max this year was $15 (x3), so here's how it broke down:

  • french farmers market tote-  $22 for set of 6 which breaks down to $3.66 a piece
  • Mrs. Meyers hand soap- $3.79 I found the special Peppermint edition at Target and got 5% off with my redcard
  • Rodial Dragon's Blood Lip Mask- this is where I cheated a tiny bit because I get these at a discount because of my job, I got them for $5.60 a piece
  • Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Sea Salted Caramels- $1.99
  • TOTAL: $15.04 and I don't count tax or wrapping so there, I made it :)

One of the funnest parts of these parties is learning about your friends and seeing what they come up with to gift. Part of the challenge is sticking to the budget and having it reflect who you are. A few of the gifts we shared...

  • homemade spice mix with stainless salad tongs (I can't find the exact match of the tongs, but these are close)
  •  mug and tea set
  • linen spray
  • glass water bottle- similar here, and $5 gift card to favorite donut/coffee shop
  • swiss army knife in a cute Ikea bag with a See's chocolate bar
  • Favorite jam with a $10 gift card to Eataly
  • bag filled with favorite food items like coffee creamer, la croix, snack items, chocolate treats, etc.
  • Dominoes Set
  • Nordstrom giftcard
  • car essential oil diffuser 
  • cooking trivets
  • Lush bath goodies
  • essential oils
  • Candle and bath salts
  • and I know I am forgetting others! All so creative and awesome, everyone left happy with their new found goodies and knowing more about each other. 

Now go host your own party, and if you need instructions on how the party works, see this post