Holiday Gift Guide // For Him

December 3, 2021

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A few good ideas for the men in your life! 

Most of these are basic things but they make life a little more easier! Manny loves his similar EarPods case and we're always searching for our reusable straw stash and borrowing each other's cups. And for your grill-loving guy, the one-touch electric grinders are the perfect addition to their grill. 

Tis the season for some merry shopping! 
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Holiday Gift Guide // For Kids

December 2, 2021

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Kids are so much fun to shop for! I always try to balance out their wants for the newest and coolest thing with good quality pieces or things they need. They usually get shoes and books too!

This camera has been on L's Christmas list for the past few years and we finally picked one up! She's going to be so excited!

Both kids asked for headphones and since they misplace and drop things all the time, both kids are getting a good budget-friendly pair this year.

New water bottles and cozy beanies are going to be under the tree for them too! And to round it out, both kids will most likely get some Legos, Nico's getting a few toys (including that adorable Grogu) and Lia's getting some new things to make bracelets with.

I can't wait too see their faces on Christmas morning!

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Holiday Gift Guide // For Babes

December 1, 2021

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A gift guide for the smallest of your littles! It's been years since I've had a small babe at Christmas and Olive is our youngest yet. She'll be 3 months and I'll admit, I'm pretty stumped on what to get a 3 month old babe for a gift. 

But, I did stumble on a few things that I love! My kid gift guides are more of a shopping list for myself so several of these will be under the tree for our girl. 

The babe sweatshirt is so cute and clothes are always a useful present for babies. You can never go wrong with books and these two are the perfect addition to her stash. Favorite pacifiers, a good tub of lotion, and soft spoons for starting food are fun stocking stuffers! 

What are your go-to gifts for littles?

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Holiday Gift Guide // For Her

November 30, 2021

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Tis the season for gift guides! I know that everyone is doing them but here's a few of my favorite things (mostly budget-friendly!). I'd honestly love anything on this list for Christmas and I'm pretty sure the women in your life would too. 

If you haven't gotten into the matching pajama set vibe, DO IT! I bought this pair for Olive's birth and I'm will never turn back from a good matching set!

And, I just don't think one can have enough cutting boards. I use the pretty ones for snack boards and to make making dinner on a dark weeknight a little cozier. 

Do you do traditional gifts with our partner? We exchange stockings and happily leave it at that but it's still fun to dream up a Christmas list! 
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Oh Christmas Tree!

November 29, 2021

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Picking out a Christmas tree is a family favorite! While we've ended up at box stores the past two years, we love a good "chop your own" tree farm and local roadside stands for all the charm and Christmas magic.

It took three stops to find our family tree and it was so fun watching the magic unfold as the kids ran around the tree lot and we all marveled at the fact that Olive is celebrating her first Christmas. 

I can't wait to play Christmas music, drink hot chocolate, and decorate the tree!

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Our Olive Girl

November 22, 2021

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This sweet babe is a dream. She is the perfect mix of both of our babes and fits right into the crew. How did we ever live without her? 

She is officially 2 months old today! I'm still a little in awe that I birthed her two months ago. It feels like it was yesterday while also feeling like she's always been with us. Physically-wise, I'm feeling really good postpartum. I'm so thankful that I healed quickly and that all the sciatic and pelvic pain from pregnancy went away. All I'm left with are headaches that come quite often and a need to balance my mental health with daily life again. 

Otherwise, things are really good with our girl. 

Two months...

She's starting smiling and it makes me giddy. Pure happiness! 
Size 1 diapers and wears a 0-3 in clothing. 
Takes great naps in her swing. Does not sleep through the night. 
Eats often and it's showing! 
Loves her brother and sister.
Loves being held!
Coos when we talk to her.
Can't resist the magical sleep dust of our wrap. 

One month...
Wearing between a newborn and 0-3 months in clothes and between a NB and 1 in diapers.
Reacts to us when we talk to her.
Happiest when she's being held or worn.
Spent many nights on the soccer field while I cheered aggressively form the sidelines.
Sleeps most of the time. But not through the night.
Has charmed us all.

7 lbs 10 oz and 19 inches long.
Loves to eat.
Sleeps so well. 
Quiet as a church mouse. It honestly freaks us out a bit.
She's bliss and joy and love all wrapped up in a tiny, warm, package.

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Festive Finds For Your Home

November 19, 2021

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I know that it's not even Thanksgiving yet but I couldn't resist an early dose of cheer this year! The Christmas boxes are stacked in the playroom and I've slowly been adding bits and bobs around the house and I find myself in the holiday decor aisles of Target multiple times a week. This year I grabbed a few new ornaments for the tree and, of course, a new mug!

I add a new Santa mug to our collection every year and seeing them spread around the kitchen is so fun! My kids drink out of them all season long - whether it's water at dinner or hot cocoa on a chilly morning. 

Our holiday decor style is modern meets festive. I like to grab things that match our existing decor so I can easily add pieces in but end up with an overall festive mood. Twinkly lights, bottle brush wreaths, and wreaths in each room do the trick! 

So, is it too early or are you all about the November cheer?
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The Last Two Months

November 16, 2021

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It's been two months since I've shared anything here and so much has happened. It's been a whirlwind - some of the best and worst moments of my life. I've thought about sitting down to write something here so many times and it either feel inconsequential or too overwhelming to get my thoughts together. But, this collection of moments and stories from our lives brings me joy and has been so great for looking back on.

So, here goes a bit of the last few months. 

We welcomed our sweet girl, Olive Lucia, at 8:07 AM on September 22. It was a gorgeous Wednesday, the first day of fall, and the memories of that day are forever ingrained on my soul. She came into this world fierce but quiet. Her birth wasn't exactly how I dreamed it to be - calming and dreamlike; instead, it was full of anxiety and a jangle of nerves but she's here and she's perfect.

She was 7 lbs, 10 oz and 19 inches long. Born with a head full of dark brown hair, big light brown eyes, and the sweetest face. 

Almost two months have passed now and we're all completely obsessed with her. Nico is in awe of finally having a little sister and Lia has fully embraced being a big sister again. Lia brings her into bed with me in the mornings and Nico rushes home from school to kiss her cheeks. She has brought the most joy and light to our crew and I am forever grateful that she made it to us earthside. 

Manny took off a few weeks for paternity leave and we binged Ted Lasso, went on lunch dates, remembered how to be parents to a baby again, learned how to parent while being officially outnumbered, washed bottles and changed diapers. We learned how to be a family of five and soaked in all the cozy moments at home. 

And, just when it felt we were getting our groove back, I received the call that my dad died. My world crashed around me. I just remember screaming. All I could do was scream while rocking Olive and waiting for Manny to come home. It was one of the worst days of my life and I have spent the last month feeling lost and heartbroken and so damn angry. There's just so much going on behind the scenes and it's been really, really hard. Especially for the kids. They are both old enough to understand it, to an extent, and I feel helpless in guiding them through this. Olive never got to meet my dad and that is a heartache all on it's own. 

I don't have the right things to say to my kids or the right way to help myself heal through this. I'm just getting through the days. Some days are good and some days are bad. We're still learning how to be a family of five. We celebrated Halloween. We're planning Thanksgiving and decorating for Christmas. The kids are in school. Weekends are spent doing things around the house and making Target runs. Weeknights are slower since soccer ended so we're focusing on cooking more meals at home and spending time together. I cling to every bit of normalcy I can get. 

I never wanted my introduction to Olive on here to be written along with the words "my dad died". He died on her one month birthday and I feel like the joy of her and the painful loss of him just keep swirling around me and I'm finding it hard to separate them.

So, I find joy in making our favorite meals and giving Olive baths and anywhere else I can. I grieve while in my car alone listening to music that reminds me of my dad. 

I'll be writing content on here again. Sharing more of Olive. Some feel-good holiday content. Our weekly menus again. I'll be grieving in the midst of all of it but I know that I can't let myself stay here in this moment in time. I just keep moving forward the best I can.
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Fall Home Favorites

September 16, 2021

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I won't lie...I've been stalking stores for pumpkins and Target for their halloween collection for two weeks now. There's nothing like some happy dopamine from shopping for your favorite season!

I've rounded up a few of my favorite things to use in our home to bring a little cozy + spooky festive fun to our space. 

Ghost mug // Who doesn't want to drink hot chocolate out of this ghoulish little guy? 

Festive dish towels // Spread the festive cheer to even the most boring of tasks and I bet you'll smile while wiping crumbs from the table. 

Latte bowls // We use these everyday but I like to pile them in festive colors on our open shelves for seasonal fun.

Ghost wall print // Inexpensive instant downloads lets you change up the art in your home easily! I'm loving this ghost print I found on Etsy. 

Woven pumpkin // I grabbed this one at Target a few weeks ago and it's the perfect touch to bring a little fall to our home while keeping it in our style.

Bats // We have a stash of these reusable bats that we use every year. The kids love putting them on the fireplace mantel! 

Wooden board // Halloween charcuterie board? Yes!

Felt garland // I'm obsessed with the color scheme of this felt garland. It would be so dreamy draped across shelves of halloween books! 

Witchy banner // Black and white and classic is always a yes in my book.

Cauldron bowls // Perfect for setting candy out on Halloween night!

Galvanized jack-o-lantern // The cutest jack-o-lantern! I snagged a similar one at Michaels on sale and I'm so excited to add it to our fall decor stash.

Is it too early to start decorating? Cheers to all the cozy Fall homes this year!
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The Third Trimester

September 15, 2021

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9 months! We have made it 9 months with our sweet baby girl and I'm honestly still in disbelief. The grief and anxiety post-loss (especially after multiple back-to-back losses) does strange things to your mind and it never leaves. Not a day has gone by that I haven't worried something is going to happen but we're here. Finally.

We've waited so long for our sweet Olive to join our crew. It's bittersweet that this is most likely my last pregnancy but it feels right. She feels like the last piece of the puzzle for us. I can't even put into words how grateful I am that we get to raise these three kids.

In all honestly though, this has been a rough pregnancy. It's been a super healthy pregnancy, despite a very early-on scare where I thought we had lost her, but it's been tough on my body and exhausting. It's been the opposite of my other pregnancies. From constant nausea to experiencing contractions (I never had them with Lia or Nico!), it's been a wild ride. 

There's days that I feel like I'm never going to be 100% ready for her. I think the trauma from past losses had held back a bit of excitement. It was incredibly hard to pull her room together and buy the things we needed because I felt something holding me back.

Her room is ready though! It took longer than I expected but she's got her space when she joins us. A cozy, green room for her to grow in.

The kids are counting down the days! Witnessing it through their eyes brings magic and wonder to our lives. Nico kisses my belly every day and has given her the nickname "Ollie". Lia watches me with care and has been a huge help getting her room ready!

We had two of the sweetest baby sprinkles to celebrate our girl! I think those really settled it in for us that we're bringing another babe into the world. Also, when did all the baby stuff get so stylish & amazing? 

There's tiny baby clothes to wash, a carseat to install, one more OB and ultrasound appointment, and the last of the nesting to do (I'm feeling the urge to organize all the cabinets and closets in our house!) but, we're ready any day now for her. Still keeping our fingers crossed she sticks to the scheduled c-section date, though. Balancing two full schedules for the kids while trying to nail down the logistical plans of what happens when I'm in the hospital has my eye twitching already!

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This Week's Dinners

September 14, 2021

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This is probably the last meal plan I make before I give birth! I think we're all feeling the jitters that comes a week before labor so here's to our meal plan keeping us on track and bringing some calm to our last full week as a family of 4.

monday // grilled chicken & peppers w/rice (we top this with homemade cheese sauce and call it special rice named after a dish at a local Mexican restaurant!) 

tuesday // chicken caesar club salad

wednesday // chicken wings

thursday // pancakes

friday // spaghetti & meatballs
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How To Get Into The Fall Mood

September 13, 2021

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I was born in the full swing of summer, but for as long as I can remember, Fall has been my season. There's just something about crunchy leaves, cozy sweaters, a chill in the air, and all the pumpkins that gives me a contented feeling. It's like taking a deep breath of fresh air.

Living in the south most of my life though means when the calendar rolls over to September, the weather still doesn't drop out of the 80s/90s and I've learned to take things into my own hands to cultivate that warm and fuzzy feeling.

Here's a few of my favorite things to to find that fall mood...

Open the windows.  Is there anything better than a crisp breeze blowing through the house? 

Make it smell good. Burn your favorite fall candle or make a simmer pot. 

Make a fall playlist. Mine always includes a few favorite songs from the You've Got Mail soundtrack!

Fill the house with pumpkins! Spotting a pumpkin on a front porch always makes me smile. Our pumpkins make it inside the house too - on shelves, kitchen counters, and bedroom dressers too. I like to spread the joy from room to room. 

Make comfort food. This time of year gets hectic for us with soccer schedules/after school activities/halloween events so falling back on some cozy meals that have been cooking all day in the slow-cooker always makes an evening feel a little more peaceful.

Curate your kids' books! I start this early so I can fill their shelves with books from our own collection and ones we grab from the library. Festive bookshelves in my kids rooms is something they look forward to. And, we always have a basket of seasonal reads in the living room so the kids can easily grab a book and snuggle on the sofa. 

Grab your coziest sweater or build a fall capsule wardrobe . I just picked this sweater up at Target and I'm obsessed. I'll be postpartum most of the season so I'm thinking all the leggings, oversized tees, and cozy sweaters to streamline my mornings.

It's really just being deliberate with the moments in our days and really soaking in the little things that make the season. The season is so short and I wish it would last forever! 

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My Favorite Fall Movies To Watch For A Cozy Vibe

September 10, 2021

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If you've been craving a dose of Fall, this list is for you! We are a movie-loving family and there's nothing like a good film to get you in a certain seasonal mood. These are our classic, favorite movies to watch in the fall! Sometimes I'll throw one on in the background while cleaning up downstairs and other times we'll pop some popcorn (toss in some candy corn, too!) and get cozy on the sofa for a movie night.

From scenes with crunchy leaves and bouquets of pencils to football to fuzzy family moments, these won't let you down! 
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What I Read In August

September 9, 2021

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It was another short month for the books but I did read a few more summer reads I had on my list! 

People We Meet on Vacation - My favorite of the month! I've enjoyed another book by Emily Henry and this one didn't disappoint. A little long-winded at times but a fun story to dive into with all the vacation vibes! 

Evidence of the Affair - I didn't realize this one was a short story. It was a quick book club pick of the month for my group and I. It's written strictly in letter form so that was an interesting little quirk. I read it all in one go while waiting in the school pickup line. Nothing amazing but a quick read to kill some time. I will say it's definitely not up to par with her usual books!

The Layover - Another cute, fluffy read. Vacation vibes with a little love story wrapped in. 

The Apology Project - So, this one. I picked it up and stopped and then picked it up again and slowly read it. It was just okay. A little bit of a rom-com type book but it just didn't hit all the stops for me. 

I'm currently compiling a list of reads for the Fall and excited to make the switch from beachy reads to more thrillers and deeper stories. Give me all the suggestions!
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This Week's Dinners

September 7, 2021

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It's been awhile since I've posted a weekly menu! Rest assured, I'm still relying on them to make our evenings run smoother and avoid extra drive-thru runs. 

The kids are busy most weeknights since after-school activities have started back up and I know adding a newborn to that mix is going to throw us for a big loop so I've been trying to dedicate Friday or Saturday mornings to ordering a grocery pickup for the weekend and jotting down a list of meals to cook throughout the week. 

I'm so thankful that while my appetite hasn't exactly returned from before pregnancy, my aversion to foods has mostly gone away and cooking doesn't feel like an art of torture anymore most days. This week it's all about easy meals that I can throw together since we're still juggling the act of figuring out how to best run our weeknight evenings and still fit in everything (homework, soccer practice, family time...etc.). 

monday // last bbq of the summer! bbq ribs & roasted corn on the cob

tuesday // pulled pork sandwiches & an easy cole slaw (toss together a bag of coleslaw mix, lime juice, chopped parsley, & salt)

thursday // lasagna

friday // stromboli

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Life Lately

September 2, 2021

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It's September, friends! Around here that means that it is officially baby month. It's crazy just typing that, much less digesting the fact that it's true and we are so close. We're all waiting semi-patiently for her to join us earth-side and dreaming of the next few cozy months.

The kids are in school and thriving! Nico has settled right into first grade like his Kindergarten year wasn't half-muddled by covid and watching him grow into this person who is confident and sure in himself fills my heart. Lia is balancing out what it means to be in middle school and the schedule and responsibility that comes with it. She's finding her way in this big world and I couldn't be prouder of her. She's currently home on quarantine due to a close contact in school but she's symptom-free and has tested negative so she's returning to the building next week. It seems we are all figuring out how to take school life day by day.

They both love school though and it's been easier to jump back into that daily routine than I expected!

I'm 36 weeks pregnant and feeling it all. I'm trying to find the balance between getting all the things done and soaking in these last few weeks of having my own free time during the day. In all honesty, I'm too tired and sore most days to do much of anything so it's not been the easiest balance to find. I'm hoping to find time to read a few books, put together a jig saw puzzle, and spend a cozy afternoon on the sofa with a good movie. It's blissfully weird to have large chunks of time all to yourself during the day.  I'd also love to fully settle into a week-day routine with household chores so that I can incorporate as much peace into our evenings as possible and have a good starting point when life shakes up in a few weeks and we find ourselves on a newborn schedule again. 

August was full of end of summer hurrahs and late night bedtimes, a couple of the sweetest baby showers to celebrate Olive, and the return of after-school sports and activities! It was a good month. 

Life has been good lately and with a new chapter right around the corner we are all feeling grateful and settled. I hope you've been feeling the same way!
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August 20, 2021

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Brand new backpacks & matching shoes, be still my heart! These babes are back in school this week and it's been a week! I always forget how much of an adjustment the first week is. We're all extra tired and stumbling around this new routine we're trying to create. 

Lia was pretty nervous to start 6th grade but our saving grace is that she didn't have to change schools! The kids' school is K-8th so they get to stick together for awhile. Nico had no nerves about starting first grade but the lack of sleep in the mornings isn't his favorite thing! Though, ironically, any other morning he pops out of bed bright eyed at 7 AM...

They both came home saying the first day was great. Nico is most excited about Lego Lab with L's old 4th/5th grade teacher. He's currently trying to convince her they need to watch Lego Masters in class!

Lia admitted that middle school isn't as bad as she thought and I hope it stays that way for her! I remember some awkward times of my own in middle school. I think math class and art class are going to be her favorites again this year. 

I couldn't resist making a festive snack board for after school either! Target always wins with their themed sugar cookies. 

Here's to finishing out the week strong (and healthy!) and finding that routine we so badly need. Sending all the mamas a big hug and cheering you on! 

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What I Read In July

August 19, 2021

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Summer burnout + the start of school + being 8 months pregnant means I haven't been reaching for books like I want to! I'm hoping a cozier, calmer Fall will do the trick.

For now, I'm trying to dive in the last few beachy reads I had on my list for this summer. I tackled a few in July and they were all good!

Last Summer at the Golden Hotel - This one gave me all the Dirty Dancing vibes! Summer at what once was an exclusive club in the Catskills sounds incredibly dreamy, right? Of course, those clubs aren't what they used to be and this story follows the two families that own the Golden Hotel during it's last summer. I loved it!

The Personal Librarian - This wasn't a beachy read but it was a based on a true story of a librarian that climbed her way to the top while keeping hold of a major secret.  

Malibu Rising - Another Taylor Jenkins Reid winner! Loved the characters, loved the setting, really enjoyed it overall!

Between Two Kingdoms - Another non-beachy read but this memoir about a cancer diagnosis, putting your life on hold, and what happens when your life restarts. It was heavy at times but incredibly well-written. Read it! 

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August 18, 2021

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I'm no expert on Amelia Island but we've been a few times in the last couple of years and have a growing list of favorite must-sees and must-eats! 

Grab a quick bite for lunch at Tasty's. It's an old gas station turned into a burger shop with a good variety of burger styles, fries, and milkshakes! 

Take a walk down the main street downtown and pop into all the local shops. 

Eight Flags Antique Market is great for wandering around in. The kids always find something to look at that entertains them!

Hudson & Perry is a tiny shop full of charm! I dream of taking one of everything home each time I am in there!

Villa Villekulla is the kid's favorite shop to pop into! From the marble run set-up to all the fun little toys to explore, this is a must-stop for us each visit. 

Of course, a family trip wouldn't be complete for us without a stop in a book store. The Book Loft is another store oozing with charm. The kids gravitate to the children's section in the back immediately. 

Stop by Fernandina's Fantastic Fudge for a sweet treat after all the shopping! Their fudge is amazing but they offer ice cream and other chocolate treats too. 

When you're ready for some sight-seeing, take a short drive over to the original Pippi Longstockinghouse! This is a must-do for L every year. She's loved the story of Pippi since she was 3 or 4. 

Another short drive away is the lighthouse. We've never taken a tour of the actual lighthouse but we've lucked out driving up and getting up close views and capturing some great photos with the kids! 

the cutest blast from the past

Then, head over to Fort Clinch State Park. It's just $6 per car to enter and you could really spend all day there! We usually spend a couple hours hunting for sharks teeth and taking in the gorgeous scenery but there's the fort to be explored, several beach areas, and lots of biking/hiking trails!

Finish the day with dinner outside. Our favorites are The Salty Pelican for your typical steak, seafood, bar-type food and Pepper's Cocina for delicious Mexican food.

There's so much to do and explore there. These are just a few of our favorites! 

We keep adding to our memory bank every time we visit this sweet little island. 

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