The following post was sponsored by JetBlue Getaways.

My husband and I are very different when it comes to budgeting. He comes from a family that prioritizes vacation and saves yearly for them. I prefer to spend as needed on daily activities and other various expenses without thinking too much about it. Justin grew up with regular vacations, whereas I didn’t – our visit to Turks & Caicos with JetBlue Getaways this week was the second time I’ve been out of the country in fact (the first was last year when I traveled to Guatemala with World Vision). Suffice it to say, this week was enough to trigger more than one conversation about really digging into our budget and creating space and priority for vacations both as a couple and with the family.

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My friend Roo asked me something that I had already been thinking about since we embarked on this first trip of leisure for my husband and I. “On a scale of 1 to 10, how beneficial is a vacation for one’s marriage?” Easy answer, “I’d say 9 right now, perhaps 10”. The truth is, we’re in the thick of life right now. We’ve had children in and out of diapers, bottles, toddlerhood, preschool and everything else consistently for the past 7 years, and we’re starting all over in a month or two. It’s not easy on a marriage, as beautiful and challenging as this part of life is.

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The first day was sweet and exciting like a first date. I might have been even a little bit nervous, wondering what our communication would be like. We didn’t talk much, we spent a great deal of the time soaking in the wonder that is the turquoise ocean, white sand and perfect tranquility of the gorgeous Gansevoort Hotel on Grace Bay. After an afternoon of enjoying the peaceful waters, we got a little dressed up for our first date at Stelle, the restaurant located within the hotel that we ended up dining at twice in a row. We talked bit, almost re-learning what it’s like to communicate without absolute chaos happening all around us and responsibilities clawing at our brains.

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Day two, we woke somewhat early and took one of the chartered boat excursions out to go snorkeling, fishing for conch, and eventually for a little picnic of sorts on Iguana Island. The weather was clear and perfect, and there were tons of other couples and families along for the ride with us. Although I have never snorkeled before, it was so much fun to share that experience with Justin… Like an underwater dance between just the two of us, some gorgeous fish and a sea turtle.

On our third day, we rented a car and drove around the island. We chatted a bit with the locals at a restaurant called Bugaloos, peeked at a couple of retail shops and found the most incredible secluded beach that I’ve ever seen in my life. It was a little slice of heaven, a moment in time I won’t ever forget.

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I found myself slightly challenged to write a piece about this trip, as this was something I didn’t ever see myself being fortunate enough to actually do. I just didn’t think it was in the cards for me, and I don’t think I can properly put into words exactly what it meant to me and my marriage that we were able to go on such an incredible vacation together. I want to talk about every single thing that just blew me away, but I find myself also tempered in humility. It was incredible, but I know and realize just how fortunate we were and I’m completely humbled by it. I was shown that these things can be a reality, which is what set forth our conversations about budgeting and making the impossible, possible. Because it is very much possible, and incredibly worth it.

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Our experience at the Gansevoort was nothing short of amazing, and being able to fly our preferred airline abroad made a huge difference as well. For the last five years, I have purchased our tickets through JetBlue because of their incredible customer service and consistency-especially when traveling with children. As an individual doing much more traveling and as a family, I’ve been borderline obsessed with racking up my TrueBlue points. I’m really hoping that we are able to take the whole family for our annual trip to see Santa at Macy’s in Herald Square this Christmas – and as the Head of Household (oh yes I am), we can use our Family Pooling points towards a future Getaways Family Vacation. My key takeaway here was we were able to take our first vacation together and truly not worry about the details, given the fact that we knew what to expect from our airline, and the JetBlue Getaways package was not only thorough and well thought out (there were very few holes to fill once we were at our destination), but the packages are priced well. I’m comfortable and even a bit relieved knowing I can look at JetBlue Getaways for future Marriage Insurance trips and family vacations to include in our monthly budgeting.

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It’s important to me, in business and everyday life, to partner with brands that recognize and support the missions that I do as well, and this ended up being a trifecta of brilliance for my family, my marriage and our philanthropic efforts via Theo and Beau. I was thrilled to learn – unexpectedly – while visiting the local puppy rescue organization in Turks & Caicos, Potcake Place, that JetBlue and the Gansevoort have been incredibly supportive of their rescue and adoption mission by providing cargo space on the planes and flexibility bringing pets onto the hotel property. I felt confident and thrilled about our choice to not only work with JetBlue and their Getaways program, but also as a consumer who would choose these properties and packages naturally as well. And even more happy to share all of this with you.

Thank you to JetBlue Getaways for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

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This post is sponsored by Target. More Turtles, More Bold and Daring Fun: Blur the lines of fantasy and reality with your favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at Target.

It’s easy to say that these early years are incredibly monumental in the development of a child and their personalities. Each year starting from birth seems to clock in more emotional mileage than the last as they begin to grow into walking, talking small humans. I’m surprised by each of my children every day by how different they are from the week before and how their stages differ from each other at similar ages. Jack, our oldest who is now seven, has become increasingly interested and nearly dependent on his friends in our neighborhood and at school. His decisions for sports, activities and even his clothing are heavily influenced by what his buddies are doing and what they are interested in. It’s been one of the most surprising developments watching him change and grow in this way in the last year, and I can only be grateful that this all just seemed to start once we moved to California.

Jack went into first grade a very typical 6 year old, and he quickly bonded with one or two children who shared his love for basketball and science. They spent more and more time outside of school and eventually went to see a children’s movie together-one that was certainly a common denominator in their interests. In some ways they’ve gotten borderline obsessive about certain characters, brands and movies. Zoe is, like most little girls her age, completely obsessed with the more girly movies. Beau-even though he hasn’t seen it yet-falls over himself over everything with vehicles. Jack has always gravitated to Legos and latched onto the Lego Movie and songs in a way that I haven’t seen him do before. The newest feature coming out that he and his buddies are super excited about is the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie, it’ll likely be one that we treat him to with a friend or two, again.

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With that interest, obviously, comes the desperate need for the toys and gadgets based on the movie, and now that we live close to a Target(finally!), I know right where to go to get them. Our baby moon vacation was coming up this week, so this was perfectly timed with my guilt over leaving them and I was able to grab a few special things to gift them before Justin and I left. Target, of course, did not disappoint. We found tons of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toys, as well as couple of dolls and even a few planes from Beau’s latest obsession.

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Jack is more into the figurines and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Legos themed around the characters, while Beau will play with anything with wheels, specifically the Movie Van. The two of them played seamlessly with those toys-even without seeing the movie first-for hours. Given their age difference and the ages they are at, I haven’t seen as much camaraderie between them as I do with Beau and Zoe together. It was really, really sweet to watch-especially because they weren’t reenacting any fighting scenes. Just sweet brotherhood at it’s finest. Happy, happy momma.

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I suspect there will be more movies that the kids will want to see and invite their friends to, and I personally can’t wait to see their excitement over it. I distinctly remember how happy Rainbow Bright and Cinderella made me feel, and how I’d play with those toys with friends for hours on end. It’s a lot of fun for me as a parent to share these moments with my kids, but more so fully embracing how certain toys, stories, and characters help develop bonds between friends and even siblings at their ages.

Thank you to Target for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.



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5 Reasons To Take A Babymoon Vacation

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My husband and I are currently in Turks & Caicos celebrating our babymoon, which is actually our very first vacation as a married couple, just the two of us. For various reasons involving circumstance and finances, we just haven’t been able to get away. I mean, we went on maybe a handful of date nights […]

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This post was sponsored by The Honest Company. To learn more about their products, click here. I got into the car yesterday after swim lessons, knowing we had a 45-minute drive ahead of us and I somehow misplaced the diapers. Beau is slowly learning to use the toilet, but he really isn’t there yet and […]

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I can comfortably say that it’s taken me seven years of parenting and nearly four full-term pregnancies to know what I like in terms of products for this amazing/crazy period of life. I’m finding out that my preferences on nearly everything is bleeding over into each other: Fabrics that I prefer, foods and food preparation […]

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It’s day four of summer vacation, and I finally feel like we’ve downshifted the soundtrack from the Ramones to a slow and breezy Beck tune. That could also very well be the calling card of my seventh month of pregnancy, because I feel as though I’m walking through jello most of the time, or at […]

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