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All Aboard: Cruising on the Yacht StarShip in Tampa

3 Apr

If you leave anywhere near the Bay area, you have probably heard about the Yacht StarShip cruises that leave out of Tampa and Clearwater. You have probably put it on your wish list of places to visit around the area, and month after month, you never take part.

I was the exact same way. Every time I would see a commercial or someone talking about Yacht StarShip, I burst out, “Oh my gosh, I want to do that so bad!” But, then I would forget about it until the next commercial aired. Well, I decided to make a change, and I purchased two tickets through LivingSocial. I mean, who can pass it up when it’s at such a discount on LivingSocial. I no longer had an excuse not to try it.

So, in honor of our two-year anniversary, PoppaNut and I boarded the Channelside yacht for an unforgettable evening. Yacht StarShip, America’s First 3-diamond rated Dining Yacht by AAA, ranks in the top 28% of all restaurants, and the food was amazing. Our exquisite dinner cruise offered tableside service with exceptional dishes. The calamari was so fresh and tasty, we ate it in about two second flat. With cocktails in hand, we chatted about everything under the sun, while watching the sun set in the distance. With our meal finished and dessert wrapped up to-go, we headed to the top floor to take in the spectacular views from the deck.

Wow! The views of some of the houses nearby were amazing. I couldn’t help but imagine what each person inside those houses were doing and what their lives were like. I could have sat up there for hours, but the dancing had begun inside. After some foot tapping and another few cocktails, PoppaNut and I deboarded the beautiful yacht to look at some of those amazing houses a bit closer.

And there, in the shadows of the night, stood Derek Jeter’s humble (or not so humble) abode. With the faint glimmer of a TV on inside, we knew the Yankee legend was just a few yards away. So, I’m just going to say we celebrated our two-year anniversary with Jeter. And for PoppaNut, that was a dream come true!

And that’s life in a nutshell … explore the amazing things this area has to offer. Make a new wish list, and make a point to actually partake in each one. You’ll lead a richer life because of it.



A Unique Present: Handmade Yankees Quilt

17 Feb

Quilts are part of my family’s DNA. My Grandma Tam made the most beautiful quilts in the whole world, and I have two that I get to call my own. When my grandma passed away, she left behind several unfinished quilts, and I can’t wait to have them finished so I have more to enjoy.

My Grandma Densmore also makes amazing quilts, and I use several of the ones she made me every week. I have one made of my cheerleading T-shirts from Penn High School and other that represents my time at Indiana University. I also have a flowery quilt, a design that both myself and my cousin Ashley have.

There is just nothing like snuggling with a quilt on the couch. So, when I was on Pinterest a few month back and ran across this profile, I was immediate struck by the Yankees quilt. I commented on the image of the quilt and Jill Motsinger at wrote me right back. She makes custom sports-themed quilts for people, and she was happy to make one for me.

Well, instantly I thought this would be a great idea for PoppaNut. First of all, he is obsessed with the Yankees, and this would let him have a quilt just for him. It could be something I give him that would be with us the rest of our lives. I immediately wrote back to Jill, and she got to work.

The amazing thing about Jill is that she emailed me photos and communicated with me about the quilt all along the way. She sent updates after she got the fabric and as she put the blocks together. It only took her about a month and a half to complete everything.


When the completed quilt arrived at the house, I was bursting with excitement. I placed it inside PoppaNut’s Valentine’s gift bag and waiting for the big surprise. When he opened it up, he was shocked. He absolutely loved it, and wanted to use it right away. He even said that it will be something we keep in our family for the rest of our lives. Jill, thank you for making something so special for our family.

And that’s life in a nutshell … finding the perfect gift can be as easy as looking around Pinterest!


Bridesmaid Fabric

20 May

So, anyone who knows me knows that I HATE bridesmaid fabric. If someone can explain to me why a bridesmaid dress that costs more than $300 is made of the worst fabric in the world, I would love to hear the reason why. The fabric doesn’t breathe at all! Spending $300 for a dress is a little extreme anyway … and then you top that by making it out of fabric that is not even fit for my window curtains.

Ashley and I forever ago!

And that’s just another reason why I love my cousin Ashley. We recently went shopping for bridesmaid dresses, and she totally understand my hate for that fabric. Ashley is getting married in October and she has asked me to be her maid of honor.

I’m so honored to have the honor! I have never been a maid of honor before. And while I also hate giving speeches, it means so much that she wants me to be a part of her day. So, I was prepared to have to wear the nasty fabric … but this fashionable bride also doesn’t want that fabric at her wedding. So, we did some hunting and we found a great dress. I’m so excited!

Madison, Ashley and Randy

I think I’m most excited about watching Ashley grow up and turn into such an amazing woman. I remember when she was born, and she slept in this beautiful bassinet. As we got older, Ashley and I always spent a lot of time together … we played Barbies, we performed in talent shows, we went swimming together and jumped on trampolines … we drew animal figures on each other’s backs … and then, I went off to college. I didn’t get to see Ashley as much, but that changed again when Ashley moved from Indiana to Florida.

I was looking for a roommate at the time, and the timing was perfect. We looked at a few places and moved into a little apartment with granite countertops (that was HUGE at the time). And we got even closer. Ashley was there when I first started dating Steve, and I was there when she started dating Randy.

Ashley, Brooke, Stephanie and I at my wedding

We often laugh that that apartment is a life-changer. You either get married, have a baby or breakup in that apartment. You move on to your next life change. And all that happened in that apartment. Steve proposed to me in the living room of that apartment. Ashley found out she was pregnant. And I think I few people when through breakups either in the apartment or in the parking lot outside!

The bridesmaid dress I'll wear for Ashley's Big Day

Ashley was a bridesmaid in my wedding, and I’m so happy we got to share that moment together. Now, it is her turn to be the beautiful bride, and I can’t wait to be there … Well, I guess I just wrote my maid of honor speech!

So, that’s life in a nutshell … staying close with your family and sharing special moments by their side … and appreciate when the bride says “NO” to bridesmaid fabric!


Celebrating Wedding Anniversaries

10 May

Today is a very special today. On this very day 31 years ago, my mom and dad married in a small ceremony in Granger, Indiana. I’ve seen pictures of their wedding day … my dad had long hair and a suit with bell bottoms. My mom wore a wide-brimmed white hat with a yellow ribbon that complemented her dress. Dad, Mom, MommaNut, PoppaNut

In honor of their anniversary, I wanted to share some photos of my parents. These photos were taken at PoppaNut and I’s wedding in March 2010. I love the kind of marriage my parents have, and it is the kind of marriage that I’m also lucky to have. And that’s why PoppaNut and I have made additional vows on top of our Dad, Mom, Daviemarriage vows. It is our vow to go somewhere or do something wonderful on every anniversary we have. This past March, we took an amazing trip to Belize … and it was un-BELIZE-able.

And, we got to start a new tradition: anniversary gifts! I surprised PoppaNut with an inscribed pocketwatch, similiar to the one I gave him on our wedding day. I also Dad, MommaNutgave him tickets to a Yankees game, his favorite team in the whole world. PoppaNut got me a lot of gifts, but my favorite one was my anniversary band. It is just beautiful. And the replica top of our wedding cake was a very touching moment as well.

Here are the gift traditions for wedding anniversaries. Do you follow it or buy something you want that might not follow tradition. Tell me!

 Wedding-Gift Traditions

1st Wedding Anniversary
Traditional Gifts: Paper
Modern Gifts: Clocks
Celebrating: Ideas and Symbols
Related: 1st Anniversary Resources
Readers Respond: Read 1st Anniversary Stories and Gift Ideas

2nd Wedding Anniversary
Traditional Gifts: Cotton
Modern Gifts: China
Celebrating: Ideas and Symbols
Related: 2nd Anniversary Resources
Readers Respond: Read 2nd Anniversary Stories and Gift Ideas

3rd Wedding Anniversary
Traditional Gifts: Leather
Modern Gifts: Crystal
Celebrating: Ideas and Symbols
Related: 3rd Anniversary Resources
Readers Respond: Read 3rd Anniversary Stories and Gift Ideas

4th Wedding Anniversary
Traditional Gifts: Fruit or Flowers
Modern Gifts: Appliances
Celebrating: Ideas and Symbols
Related: 4th Anniversary Resources
Readers Respond: Read 4th Anniversary Stories and Gift Ideas

5th Wedding Anniversary
Traditional Gifts: Wood
Modern Gifts: Silverware
Celebrating: Ideas and Symbols
Related: 5th Anniversary Resources
Readers Respond: Read 5th Anniversary Stories and Gift Ideas

6th Wedding Anniversary
Traditional Gifts: Candy or Iron
Modern Gifts: Wood
Celebrating: Ideas and Symbols
Related: 6th Anniversary Resources
Readers Respond: Read 6th Anniversary Stories and Gift Ideas

7th Wedding Anniversary
Traditional Gifts: Wool or Copper
Modern Gifts: Desk Sets
Celebrating: Ideas and Symbols
Related: 7th Anniversary Resources
Readers Respond: Read 7th Anniversary Stories and Gift Ideas

8th Wedding Anniversary
Traditional Gifts: Bronze or Pottery
Modern Gifts: Linens or Lace
Celebrating: Ideas and Symbols
Related: 8th Anniversary Resources
Readers Respond: Read 8th Anniversary Stories and Gift Ideas

9th Wedding Anniversary
Traditional Gifts: Pottery and Willow
Modern Gifts: Leather
Related: 9th Anniversary Resources

10th Wedding Anniversary
Traditional Gifts: Tin or Aluminum
Modern Gifts:Diamond Jewelry
Celebrating: Ideas and Symbols
Related: 10th Anniversary Resources

Find more here.

And that’s life in a nutshell … remembering to celebrate the special moments in the your life with the one you love.

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