I have the itch to take a beach vacation. Maybe it’s the sunny spring weather or perhaps it’s just spring fever + a toddler who likes to wake up at least once per night lately, but I NEED a vacation. We’re heading to Cancun in early June and I can’t wait! Facebook has been tormenting me with those “memories” posts, reminding me that I’ve previously traveled quite a bit during this time frame over the years. I’m a March baby, so it was always common for me to be on a beach somewhere on my birthday. Since Ben and I were married for awhile before we had the mini-me, we traveled quite a bit and beach vacations were always getaways we could agree on. So, in honor of my wanderlust, I’m bringing you my top 5 fave tropical escapes.
- Turks and Caicos – I could just live here. The pristine white sand is the epitome of what sand should be. And the water — It’s perfection times ten. We went in November, and it was the ideal time of year to go — right before Thanksgiving so we beat the crowds. We traveled to Providenciales, which is a 38-mile beach area that’s the most popular and developed place on the island. It wasn’t crowded at all. We stayed on the north side near Grace Bay at a resort that I highly recommend called Seven Stars. Y’all, it’s just heavenly. Turks and Caicos is recognized time and time again by Conde Nast, Travel and Leisure and so many more top-tier publications as one of the world’s best beaches, and I agree 150%. Just one of the best, most relaxing vacations of my life.
Grace Bay , Turks and Caicos
Turks and Caicos Sunset
- St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands – this comes in a close second. If you love amazing beaches and you also like the outdoors, St. John is a wonderful place for you. I would definitely go back to this island, which is one of three of the U.S. Virgin Islands. We stayed in a cool house, sort of like a treehouse with nice decks and outdoor eating spaces. We were with family so the house worked well so we could enjoy more homemade meals. Food is pricey here at grocery stores, but so is going out to eat 6 days in a row. We loved this island because there were so many untouched beaches you could explore. One that is a must-see is called Trunk Bay. We just drove to beach after beach with snorkeling gear and waded through the most beautiful water that seemed like the biggest tropical fish tank. The island is very hilly, so driving around is quite the adventure, but renting a car was needed since we really explored the island, which is comprised mostly of a national park. We had a fabulous day on a private sail boat that was so beautiful. I would definitely go back to St. John. One of my friends is going to St. John for her honeymoon next month and I’d love to stay at Caneel Bay the next time I go, which is where she’s staying.
- Grand Cayman – When you can take a 2.5 hour flight to a place this beautiful, why the heck not? We’re fortunate that Houston has so many direct flights to great places like Grand Cayman. This was Braden’s first flight and earned him his first passport stamp at 9 months. It was a wonderful first family beach vacation, and we stayed at the Westin on Seven Mile Beach, which nicely accommodated having a baby in the room by providing a rollaway crib. Pack n plays are pretty terrible in my opinion, so not worrying about lugging that around took a little stress out of traveling with baby. I’ll have to do a whole other post about traveling with a baby one day because I feel like I’ve learned a ton over the past year flying with B. Grand Cayman is another beach that has beautiful turquoise water and soft sand. Not quite as soft as Turks and Caicos and St. John, though but I feel like I was kind of spoiled by experiencing those beforehand and now I compare everything to that! We went to Stingray City Sandbar while we were here and petted/swam/ran through the water shrieking once surrounded by stingrays. Definitely a memorable experience.
- Kauai, HI – A place that doesn’t require a passport, but it’s quite the long flight if you’re coming from many areas of the country. I’ve been to Oahu, HI before, but I would go back to Kauai every year if I could. I can’t really say the same for Oahu to be really honest. Kauai isn’t too touristy or crowded (we went in early March, probably before spring break season hit). It has some similarities to St. John because it has beautiful beaches and fantastic nature activities like hiking Waimea Canyon – a must see for sure. When I say nature, it’s like sensory overload in terms of how beautiful the mountains, canyons and beaches are. We went hiking and took a helicopter tour around the island — totally recommend that. We stayed on two sides of the island during our time there: the south side, Poipu Beach and then Princeville. I liked the latter more, just because it was so breathtaking and we were closer to more outdoorsy areas we wanted to explore. We were just in awe of how beautiful this island was the whole time we were there. I’m glad we made the last-minute switch mid-trip to go to the other side of the island. We stayed at the Westin Princeville (I really like Starwoods hotels) and it was fabulous.
- Costa Rica – This is another quick direct flight for Houstonians, but I would recommend this tropical escape to anyone. We flew into Liberia, which is on the west side and stayed in a surf town called Tamarindo on the northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica in a province called Guanacaste. It had beautiful beaches and a large wildlife refuge nearby. We snorkeled, went scuba diving one day and also did fun activities like taking ATVs through the jungle and ziplining. I’d love to go back to Costa Rica again and visit this area again and also explore other areas of the country as well.
Tamarindo, Costa Rica sunset
There are a few places I’ve left off the list for now including Belize, Puerto Rico and lots of Mexican destinations including Cozumel, Puerta Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. All amazing places that I’ll share another day.
What are your favorite beach getaways? I love hearing other people’s travel recommendations so please share!
We had a fun-filled weekend with brunch, egg hunting, Easter Sunday church service and dinner with friends. It was the perfect weekend, especially since I had Friday off, which was soooooo needed.
We stopped by the house on Saturday since I hadn’t been there in a week or so. Ben went earlier in the week/he stops by there every other day or so to see the progress. This week the underground plumbing was installed. Honestly, I didn’t really know what this meant, but my hubby, being the engineer he is cross-checked measurements with the plan — meaning he went out there and measured EVERYTHING and noticed that we were missing the plumbing for the bar sink. This would have been caught by the builder who was planning on walking the site the next day, but of course, Ben caught it first. Our builder always laughs at us and says he’s never worked with anyone like us (aka Ben) before because we’re very detail-oriented, and we like to know how and why things are happening a certain way. When Ben emailed him and said he found an error, he said that he would get it corrected and that he appreciates our attitude about things. We’re pretty easy-going people and we understand mistakes will be made. I’m glad we’re working with someone we trust, and I’m thankful my husband is a person who likes to get in the weeds about things!
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I love button-up shirts. Paired with the right denim or a pencil skirt, this classic top can be perfect for the office. Just throw on a blazer or cardigan to dress it up even more and make it work for multiple seasons. Styled with skinny jeans, it’s a go-to weekend outfit. Silk button-up shirts are easy to dress up for dinner out or for work, too. I have a few fun, printed silk shirts and colored silk buttons-ups that I’ve had for years.
Saturday afternoon walk in the neighborhood with B. He loves sunglasses now and I may have an obsession with all things from Baby Zara and Toms shoes for toddlers.
I’ve been finding quite a bit at Banana that I like lately. This linen shirt is casual and light, and I could see myself wearing it with shorts once that Houston heat hits. Who am I kidding – we are having some sort of fluke spring weather, but I’m sure it will be short-lived and we’ll be back to humidity soon. I wore this shirt 2 weeks ago with yellow shorts when running errands in fact. The weather was amazing this weekend, and we took advantage by walking around our neighborhood Saturday afternoon, hitting up our favorite toy store, Big Blue Whale, and getting some frozen yogurt. This outfit was perfect for this fun afternoon with my favorite toddler.
Big Blue Whale in the Heights is the most magical toy store! If you live in Houston, definitely check it out. We frequent it weekly. 🙂
Sometimes long-sleeve shirts like this can be hard to find the right fit. I’ve curated quite the collection, so I know what brands work for me and my long limbs. I buy tall long- sleeve shirts and blazers when they’re available from Banana, in particular. Banana Republic, J. Crew and Ann Taylor are 3 stores that sell tall sizes, which means a little more length in the arms and width in the shoulders, which makes this 5’10 gal a happy camper.
Life has been kicking us in the butt lately. Between a terrible stomach bug for Braden, which I then was lucky enough to get too, and a few episodes of night terrors in the past week (whhhhyy?) coupled with my busy work season, I’m pretty exhausted. I know it’s the season of life we’re in though and it soon will pass.
I know I’m kind of slow to the Snapchat bandwagon. I got it when it first came out, but never cared for it. But, what we soon realized is that Braden thinks it’s pretty hilarious. Thus, it’s turned into something I’m loving lately since we’re getting some infectious giggles out of it. My husband has especially taken it to some new levels, as you can see here with his obsession with face swap.
My name is laureenlucas9 on Snapchat, so follow along if you want some of our stories filling your feed. 🙂
My little mini recently turned 19 months. It’s shocking how quickly it flies by. He’s surprising us daily with his ever-increasing vocabulary. New words include: crackers and cartoons (dang it). And, “mine!” is also starting to creep up pretty often. :/ He tests our patience, makes us laugh uncontrollably and makes me realize that I love him more than I could have ever imagined.
A lot of steps go into deciding this whole building a house thing. We definitely thought a lot about it and made lots of plans over the past few months, but I guess it’s starting to really feel real now that we can see progress. Baby steps…literally. My baby, who just turned 19 months, ran so freely in the foundation forms yesterday evening. It’s like the ultimate baby gate. 🙂
I know some days it’ll seem like forever, but then it’ll be complete before we know it. I’ll be documenting at #lucasfamilyhome along the way.
Does anyone have a soft tape measure?
Me: Yes! I do. Here you go.
This is a real conversation I’ve had with a coworker. I’ve been known to have everything under the sun in my handbag. Just call me Mary Poppins. Before I was a mom, I assumed the mom role among by friends and co-workers, always ready with meds, snacks, a hair tie or whatever else was needed by someone.
I decided I would show a real snapshot of what I carry in my bag day-to-day.
First off, let’s talk about the bag. Unless I’m going to a wedding or a night out where I can carry a clutch for just a few hours, I just need a big bag. I’ve always been this way, but when I became a mom, this rang true tenfold.
I’ve been carrying this Tory Burch tote for nearly two years. It’s a plum color that doesn’t seem to be available anymore, but there are some other classic colors available. I swap it out with other similar-sized bags occasionally, but it’s a simple everyday bag that can double as a work and diaper bag when needed. I have my eye out for a new spring bag…or ten. P.S. It’s my birth month dear, sweet husband.
Speaking of diaper bags, I have a basic navy messenger baby bag that I use mostly for weekend outings to the zoo, travel or other trips out and about, but mostly I just throw a few diapers, changing mat and travel wipes in my everyday purse and I’m all set. I’m thinking I’ll buy ToteSavvy, an insert that will keep things a bit more organized, especially when you’re in the bottle-toting stage. Not in the bottle-stage anymore, but still toting a sippy cup most days since I have a 18-month-old.
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I’ve been curating a few things I’m inspired by, trying to figure out what the overall look-and-feel of our new home will be. My goal is to create a space that’s inviting, functional and livable. Not magazine-page livable, but real-life, my-kid-plays-with-stuff-he-pulls-out-of-the-trash livable because that’s the season of life we’re in. I have a kiddo who is exploring and destructing, and I want a home that he’s able to do that in. But, I’m also praying there’s more exploring than destructing going on!
I have an actual mood board with a few of these items pinned to it. I’m kind of old-school in that I like to see things right in front of me. I also use Pinterest to keep tabs on things I like. Some of these things are pieces we already own like the adorable Pillowfort teepee tent I gave Braden for Valentine’s Day and a couple of items we’ve selected for the new home like this bathroom sink fixture.
I’m still figuring it all out, but for now I’m looking for inspiration so I think about it holistically. I’m a big fan of rustic pieces like this driftwood mirror. I think this mirror would be nice in a powder room with shiplap. I have a vision. I just need to figure out how to make it come together and then make sure Ben is on board with all of it. Details, details…
But first…foundation! Crews are scheduled to come out this week.
P.S. It’s on my to-do list to figure out a regular rhythm for posting content. I kind of chose my busiest work season of the year to start this blog. Whoops. So, I will at some point practice what I preach to clients and create a content calendar so I don’t go a week before I post again. (Maybe by writing this I’ll be held accountable!?)