Staycation at Sunset Inn and Cottages

Disclosure: We were provided with a 3 nights stay at Sunset Inn and Cottages, however, all opinions are my own.

One of the great things about living in Florida is being able to vacation in our own backyard. The Tampa Bay area is huge, so even though we only live less than an hour away, we had yet to venture to the Treasure Island area since we have lived here. Now I’m kicking myself for waiting so long! We had an amazing staycation at a hidden gem of a property called Sunset Inn and Cottages.

Sunset Inn and Cottages

Sunset Inn and Cottages is located in a quiet residential area of Treasure Island, FL. There were hardly any cars, and we were just a couple hundred yards from the ocean which was amazing! Right across from the cottages and Inn at the beach access is a pavilion, bathrooms, and a playground (which we visited many times). It’s partially covered which was awesome considering it’s August! I knew I was immediately going to love this place when we walked up to check in and I saw this little free library. How fun and perfect for the beach.

Our home for the next few days was the Sunkissed cottage. It had a queen bedroom, pull out sofa sleeper, one bathroom, and a full kitchen. It was the perfect size for our little family! This particular cottage is also pet-friendly. Another huge bonus is that we had our own covered parking space next to our cottage. Beach parking can be dicey so knowing we always had a place was so nice.

Sunset Inn and Cottages

Our cottage had cozy wood floors, a full refrigerator and freezer, and plenty of lighting.

There were even books and games in the cottage! There was cable TV and free wifi as well.

The kitchen was fully stocked with plates, cups, utensils, and more.

The bathroom wasn’t huge and there was no sink space, but it was just fine for a few days. There was a counter right outside the bathroom in the hall that we used to put our toiletries on instead.

The bedroom had a place to hang and store clothing (not pictured) as well as a little chair.

There was also a dining table and four chairs which was great for lunches in the afternoons. You can see in the left corned of the photo below, the cottage will rent you out beach chairs and an umbrella so you don’t have to bring your own!

Below you can see the extra linens they left for Emma Kate’s pull out sofa sleeper.

We were also provided with towels and washcloths (in the green bin below) to use during our stay.

There are also two adorable courtyards on the property with chairs and tables for your enjoyment. 

Below is the second courtyard. You can see our little orange Sunkissed cottage in the background.

Related: Ultimate Beach packing List

Below you can see just how close we were to the beach. There is a stop sign in the photo, and the beach is just right on the other side of the road. It’s not a busy road at all, and we hardly saw any cars.

The Inn portion is connected to the office and has a courtyard in front of it as you can see below.

 

We had such a fabulous time, and the beach was VERY quiet. Sunday there were a few more people out since the weather wasn’t great on Saturday, but Monday was practically empty. I went for a run on the beach in the morning and it was so serene and just what I needed to start the day.

 

 

We did a lot of sand castle building and shell collecting as well.

 

 

One more thing, Sunset Inn and Cottages is very aptly named, as I was blown away by the amazing evening sunsets. We would take a quick 30-second stroll to the beach from our cottage around 8:15 and were treated to the most gorgeous sky. Emma Kate loved playing in the waves in the evening, and it was a spectacular way to end the day each night.

 

For availability and pricing, be sure to check out the Sunset Inn and Cottages website. There are several cottages to choose from as well as regular Inn rooms (more on those later). You can also host a wedding or event at this property. A huge thanks to them for hosting us and for the hospitality. We will be back!

Tradewinds Beach Day

Recently my family and I had the opportunity to visit Tradewinds Resort on St. Pete Beach for a fun day of play. I had no idea there was so much to do here, or that you could purchase a day pass to enjoy the amenities even if you aren’t staying at the resort! <—-Biggest takeaway of the day for this girl! Below are a few highlights from our day:

We spent most of the day at the beach, although we also had access to the many pools, as well as the giant inflatable water slide, beach cabanas, and much more.

We also were able to snag a front row beach cabana to shade us from the bright sun. Towels and cushions were also provided, score! It was so nice to have a shady spot located so close to the water.

Emma Kate was a little too scared to do the water slide, but everyone who went down looked like theyw ere having so much fun!

The water was the perfect temperature and it wasn’t too crowded at the beach.

I don’t have photos because we were in the water, but Bobby also tried his hand at stand up paddle boarding! It was tough with the waves and current but he did a great job.

Emma Kate played in the water, built sand castles, and looked for seashells.

At lunchtime, we were treated to a beautiful spread in the shade where we chatted with other bloggers.

Emma Kate may or may not have had multiple cookies…

There were also multiple spots to get drinks, and I had this delicious fruity concoction which I enjoyed from my cabana looking out at the water.

I wish we had more time to explore, this resort is huge and there are tons of restaurants, activities, and fun little spots to explore. We will have to go back for a staycation and stay overnight! They often have great deals going on, especially for Florida residents.

Don’t forget locals, you can go get a day pass/wristband and just enjoy a fun day at the beach with your family. I know we will be doing it again!

Disclosure: we were provided with day passes and lunch from Tradewinds, however, all opinions are my own.

Sandals Ochi Beach

Disclosure: We were provided with two free day passes to the resort, however all opinions on Sandals Ochi Beach are my own.

Back in November when I sailed on the Carnival Vista, one of our stops was to Jamaica. I knew they had a Sandals resort there, and so I was really excited to spend the day exploring, in hopes of coming back for longer one day. The weather was dreary, but we still had a great time and I learned a lot about Sandals Ochi Beach resort!

This place has a beach club, 11 bars, and 16(!!) restaurants. You can take the shuttle to the other side of the road for more fun. Tranquil, lush gardens and quiet relaxing places to read or just enjoy your surroundings. This place has something for everyone!

Of course when you stay at Sandals Ochi you get top notch service such as free wifi, free airport transfers, unlimited land and water sports, unlimited wines and premium spirits, unlimited fine dining, golf, and access to the beach club where there are so many activities going on all day and into the night.

We were given a tour when we arrived, and this place is HUGE. I don’t think if I stayed for a month I could do all the things there are to do. So for those worried about getting bored at an all inclusive, that’s definitely not an issue here!

I loved the laid back atmosphere of the resort. No one was in a hurry, everyone was happy and relaxed, and it was so peaceful. The first thing we did was enjoy a breakfast buffet overlooking the ocean. I was handed a mimosa, and thought “I can get used to this!”

We enjoyed out food and the excellent customer service from the staff before heading to the pool to relax and enjoy some drinks. We ended up at the Beach Club area and at the swim up pool bar (so nice) where they will make you pretty much anything you want. I had a great time trying different drinks I normally wouldn’t order, and listening to the music as we looked out at the water.

Everyone was so friendly and we enjoyed chatting with other couples from all over the place. Some have been back several times which speaks very highly of Sandals Ochi Beach. Before we knew it, it was lunch time, so we headed back to the buffet area (there were other options as well) and enjoyed another meal overlooking the water, and I tried the drink of the day which was delicious.

After lunch I spent some time exploring the grounds and taking photos. I still didn’t have time to even take photos of everything!

I was jealous of everyone who got to stay there overnight when we had to go back to the ship.

I definitely would love to come back here, or try out another Sandals property, and actually be an overnight guest and experience more the resorts have to offer. I would also love a sunny day (haha).

If you are considering an all inclusive, I highly recommend Sandals Ochi Beach. There is something for everyone, and there are even direct flights from many airports. They have accommodations for all budgets, and activities and experiences you won’t soon forget. I know I was just there for a few hours, but I know I won’t forget the fun we had in Jamaica.

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Pppssst: If you are sailing here on a cruise ship, they offer a limited amount of day passes, which is what we had, so you can go check out the resort for yourself!

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Cabot Fit Team Weekend Part 1

Disclosure: A couple of weekends ago, I had the opportunity to go to Narragansett, Rhode Island with Cabot Cheese and their fit team. We did a lot of fun fun like run a 10k, visit a farm, and have a cheese tasting. This trip was sponsored by Cabot, however all thoughts are my own. 

I arrived in Rhode Island on Friday afternoon after a long morning of flying with a layover in D.C. I was so happy to finally be there! Another fit team member, Aggie, and I shared a cab to the Ocean Rose Inn where we were staying, and were pleasantly surprised to see it was right on the water!

We checked in, and got settled into our rooms. Mine was in the building behind the Inn and had been refurbished. I loved the simple clean vibe, and had a great view of the ocean.

Check out the retro refrigerator and phone!

The bathroom sink area was adorable as well.

I had a couple of hours until dinner….so I took a nap. It was glorious. Nowhere to be, perfect weather outside, the ocean, it was bliss for this tired mama. Soon enough we met up with everyone in the lobby and had drinks and dinner at Turtle soup, which is the restaurant at the inn. It. was. delicious.

We called it an early night because we had a big day on Saturday, we were going to visit EMMA Acres farm! Unfortunately we woke up to cold, wind and rain, but that didn’t stop us. We grabbed our rain jackets, and headed out.

So for those that don’t know, Cabot is a co-op owned by farm families in New York and New England (more on Co-ops here). I loved getting to talk with the family that owns EMMA Acres and learn the process of milking the cows and all that goes along with it. These people work SO HARD every day, rain or shine. We even learned about birthing cows and got to see some adorable babies!

We even got to see the milk tank and where they do the milking, which happens twice a day. Very early in the morning and at night. The cows know exactly where to go and are such creatures of habit!

Did you know a cow gets stressed in heat over 70 degrees? They had fans in the room where they are milked for the summertime! (I don’t think they would do well at my house in Tampa!)

This farm is a smaller farm, but equally important to Cabot (and as consumers, should be to us, too!) A huge thank you to them for spending part of their busy day educating us and letting us love on their cows!

 

 

 

Adventures in House Hunting + a Hurricane

Last Tuesday, my friend Kelley and I left Mississippi bright and early and headed to Florida. We were going to check out homes in neighborhoods where Bobby and I are going to move, which is TAMPA! I already shared this news yesterday with my email subscribers, but figured it was time to let you guys in on it as well. 🙂 We are looking north of Tampa, to be precise. So anyway,  we drove, and we drove, and we drove. It was a gorgeous day, so it was hard to believe a hurricane was coming.

How cool is this rest stop? It has a “stretch your legs” trail!

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We finally made it to Clearwater after 10:00 at night. We stayed at the Sheraton Sand Key and really liked it. It’s right on the beach (well you have to walk out a bit but no big deal). Too bad it was chilly and overcast. It didn’t stop us from sitting out there a few hours anyway!

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We eventually ventured up to the pool before grabbing lunch and meeting with my awesome realtor.

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Our plan was to look at homes all afternoon and into the early evening since we were going to head out Thursday afternoon instead of Friday because of hurricane Matthew. We saw some great houses and neighborhoods. After awhile they just all start running together though!

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This pool was awesome but unfortunately the rest of the house was not.

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How cool is this kid’s super hero room?!?

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Loved this kitchen but the neighborhood would be way too long of a commute for Bobby.

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We even rode a golf cart in one neighborhood.

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That night we hit up a restaurant in Clearwater before turning in for the night.

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The next day we were up early again for more house hunting. The Sheraton was so awesome and let us cancel out last night and refunded us no problem because of the hurricane. It was super simple and we were so grateful.

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We loaded up my SUV and were just going to meet the realtor at the first house that morning. Well, the directions I put into my map app on my iPhone were not exactly right. They took us through these back roads and down a dirt road where we came across this gentleman. We then went down ANTOHER dirt road and Siri told us to get out and walk to our destination. OMG. I felt like we were in a horror movie where the two young girls get led down a series of winding dirt roads to their deaths. We couldn’t stop laughing!

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We finally made it back to a main road and found where we were going, but whew what a way to start the morning. We saw gorgeous new neighborhood and some model homes, and then made it out of the area heading north just as the first rain bands started.

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Someone please explain the below photo?

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We had a LOT of traffic headed up 75 to I-10, and I-10 was basically gridlocked all the way to Talahassee. What should have taken us 6 hours took well over 7, and I was over it by the time we finally got to Destin around 7:15 that evening. We very much deserved good food and drinks so we headed to Rockin’ Tacos which was delicious.

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The next morning, we woke up to SUNSHINE! We were finally going to get some beach time. We were legit out on the beach by 7:45 in the morning, and we laid in the sun until around 12:15 when we finally packed up the car and had to head back to Mississippi.

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Hello sugar white sands! Oh how I missed you.

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It was totally worth driving in the traffic to get to Destin for a morning at the beach. Also it was nice to break up the 11 hour drive into two parts coming back.

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My friend Kelley was SO super sweet to spend her vacation time with me looking for houses and neighborhoods. She in her last year of residency at the hospital and could have been doing a million other things with her limited time off, but she chose to help me out.  I think I may have killed anyone else in the car for that long but we talked, listened to awesome playlists, and made it work. We also may have eaten at Chipotle twice. She had never been so I thought it was necessary. We had a great time and now I feel more confident as we narrow down where to live in just a few short weeks, so hopefully our house sells soon!

QOTD: What is your favorite beach? Do you like house hunting?

Beach Trip 2015: Day 3-5

In case you missed part one and part two, you can check them out before reading today’s installment.

I combined the next days because, well….we did pretty much the same thing! We got up, stuffed our faces with a delicious breakfast overlooking the beach, then Bobby left for his meetings, and my parents and I hit the beach.

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After lunch with Bobby, we all went to the beach.

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Then of course, happy hour.

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We had dinner scheduled at the Beach Walk Café, the nice restaurant at the Inn. We got dressed then walked over for our reservation.

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I started off with a blackberry martini which was delicious!

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I had the filet with mac ‘n cheese, and it was very tender, and the mac ‘n cheese was my favorite.

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Bobby had the lobster tail, and got a side of the mac ‘n cheese.

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My dad had the catch of the day, and my mom had shrimp ‘n grits. Everything was SO good and rich and we were stuffed after.  However, we still had enough room to all split a slice of peanut butter chocolate cheesecake made in house. Heavenly.

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The next morning my parents packed up and went home and I was pretty sad because we had such an amazing time. I hung out at the beach reading by myself until Bobby got back from class, then we ate lunch and headed back for our last bit of time on the beach.

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Some dark clouds rolled in in the afternoon, but it never actually rained. We enjoyed one more happy hour, and went to dinner down the street.

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Afterwards we went for a walk on the beach and the clouds cleared up just enough for a beautiful sunset. We also saw the Beach Walk Café setting up for “toes in the sand”, which is  ocean side dining with a private waiter. I want to do this one day!

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We sat on a swing and watched the sun go down one last time in Destin.

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Then, because we are old people, we headed up to the room for bed. Sad times.

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The next morning we enjoyed our last delicious Henderson Park Inn bed and breakfast before packing up and going home. We had an amazing trip, and I think that makes it even harder to leave! I was however glad to get home to family and routine, but I do hope we get to go back to Henderson Park Inn very soon!

QOTD: Have you ever dined next to the water? Favorite place to watch a sunset?

Beach Trip 2015: Day 2

If you missed the recap of our first day you can check it out here.

The next morning was Monday, and I was super excited about breakfast at the Inn. Yall, I wait all year for this delicious all you can eat wonderful spread.

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Made to order omelets and waffles, grits, biscuits and gravy, sausage, potatoes, bacon, tons of fruit, yogurt, cereal, you name it. After eating approximately 2.5 times my weight in food, Bobby headed off to his meetings and my parents and I headed to the beach. It was really cloudy, but the forecast said it was supposed to clear up around lunch, and I had faith it would.

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My dad kept saying “no way, It’s too cloudy!” but I stood firm in my amazing meteorological skills.

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I also laughed a lot at mom and dad playing badminton.

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At lunchtime we went up to the dining room, grabbed our boxed lunches and waited for Bobby to come back. We ate, and sure enough, the sun came out!

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YAY!

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Bobby and my dad threw the Frisbee, and I threw the football with my dad (and can I just say my arm killed the next day!)IMG_6284 (2)

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We stayed on the beach all afternoon, well until happy hour, of course.

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We got cleaned up ad went out to dinner to celebrate my birthday a few days early. We ate at Captain Daves which is right on the beach. We were all way too full and stuffed to walk on the beach when we came back so all us old pathetic folks went to bed at 9:00.

QOTD: When you go to the beach do you eat out or cook in a condo, or a mix of both?

The Beach Club

 

A few of you have asked me via e-mail about the place we like to stay at the beach. Growing up, we always went to Destin, FL and have a favorite spot, which we stayed in last summer when Bobby had to take some legal classes to keep his law license current. But, we have also gone to another beach a few times, and really love it because it’s two hours from our house, The Beach Club. This beautiful place is just outside of Gulf shores in a more secluded area called Fort Morgan.

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The last time Bobby and I were here was in September of 2009 for a long weekend. We had a great one bedroom condo with an amazing view of the beach.

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It was nice to be there in the off season when it wasn’t crowded at all. I know it will be a little bit cooler this time around but really, we are just wanting to get away so we don’t really care.

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We really like how “off the beaten path” this place is. They also have free dvd rentals and a few different dining options. We of course will be hitting up the gym and running on the beach!

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When we go to the beach, we like having a condo, so we can bring a lot of our own food. it makes it healthier and cheaper!

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Plus we really love sitting on the balcony eating breakfast.

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Or a late night snack!

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Hopefully it will be warm enough to hit up the pool, but they have an indoor one too if it’s not.

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So ready to go! Hurry up week!

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QOTD: Where is your favorite beach spot?

Running Skirts Sales Summit Day 2

 

Mmooorrrrnnniiinnnggg! catching up from the weekend?

Running Skirts Sales Summit

The Disney Dream part 1

Happy Father’s Day 2011

I hope everyone had a fab weekend! I will have pictures from Father’s Day up tomorrow. We had a great time at my parents house. My dad liked his gifts. Smile

Ok, so, we were discussing the Running Skirts sales summit. We woke up on day 2, and all went for a morning run by the ocean. It was so beautiful, nice and cool outside, no humidity. LOVE THIS WEATHER!

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Paige and I on our balcony before the run

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my knee/IT band was giving me fits. I played sand volleyball twice on Castaway Cay on the cruise, and it had been hurting me since then. I ended up walking for part of the run. I felt bad slowing everyone down, but didn’t really have a choice.

We ran into a guy putting his surfboard into his car, and asked it we could take a picture.

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I couldn’t get over the gorgeous scenery.

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We covered somewhere between 4 and 5 miles, and then were dropped off back at the hotel to shower and get ready for some training.

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next skirt outfit. Smile

We had a great day of training and I learned a lot, and then that afternoon we were sent off to the spa to enjoy some relaxation time. You weren’t supposed to take pictures, but I snuck a couple.

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the spa was so awesome. It had indoor and outdoor Jacuzzis, a heated outdoor pool, sauna, steam room, relaxation room, room with fireplace, it was so awesome.

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see the big balcony on the second floor? That is our suite. Smile

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beautiful flowers. everywhere. smelled. wonderful.

That night we went to a cute place on the water called Jake’s for drinks before we went to dinner. Sadly, June gloom had set in.

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but we still had a great time!

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after drinks, we went to a Mexican place in Del Mar for dinner. It was so yummy! Loved it!

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Good times were had by all, and I was so sad we had to leave the next day! Here are a couple other pictures I took of the resort the morning we left.

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the awesome bathroom in our room

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Wednesday morning we were all sadly brought to the airport to begin our journey home. I know the trip seemed so condensed in these posts but there was so much going on, I had such a great first visit to California and hope I get to go back soon!