Friday, 31 May 2013

18 Years...A Letter To My Sister

We've been through a lot together these past 18 years...some good, some bad, but all with sisterly love. 

I say to you all the time "You used to be such a cute kid, what happened?" I know what happened...you turned into a beautiful young woman. 

The all-star athlete, the talented musician, the academic scholar, the nurturing teacher, the student leader... You are so many things, to so many people...but you will always be my baby sister. You have accomplished so much already in your life and I will never be able to tell you how extremely proud I am of you.

"There is no better friend than a sister. And there is no better sister than you."

I remember the first time I saw you, visiting you- my baby sister- in the hospital. We both know this wasn't the last time I would see you in the hospital. I remember when you broke your arm...and walking the length of the hallway with you, while you waited to go in for surgery. 

I remember when you learned to walk...mom and dad were out, we were in their room watching tv. You just stood up, by yourself...you didn't pull yourself up on a table or anything...and started walking. Not one or two steps, but the length of the room. I was so excited.

I remember...so many things- somersaults before dad's inauguration, you being terrified of Mickey Mouse but amazed by 'Ho Ho' aka Santa, how excited you would get when we drove past cows, you being eager to share your special recipe for scrambled eggs, you being with me when I was shopping for my prom dress, you coming to visit me at Brock, all the hockey games, yoga with Lilith, the castle we built for school (out of sugar cubes...that was a fun afternoon) and of course playing Oopsie Daisy's ...I could go on and on.

"Sisters are beloved angels whom God sent to be beside us through thick and thin."

But my favourite memories are when we are just sisters...shopping, going out for lunch, helping you study.

I know over the years I haven't always been the nicest to you...I've picked on you, I've given you a hard time, I've made you cry...I was being a big sister, apparently that's what we do. I know I haven't always been the best sister. But there hasn't been a day where I haven't been happy you were my sister, been proud of you or loved you unconditionally. You mean the world to me.

"Sisters are for sharing laughter and wiping tears."

It's hard to believe that you came into my life 18 years ago. I can't remember a time when you weren't part of my life-what life was like before you were born- and I can't imagine my life without you now...I can't imagine going through life without you as my sister.

"A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit, a golden thread in the meaning of life." 
 
Who knew that 18 years ago I wasn't just gaining a baby sister, but one of my best friends too.

Happy 18th birthday...I hope you have an amazing, memorable day.

I love you.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

May Cara Box Reveal- Let's Get Regional

Cara Box

 
I decided to participate in May's Cara Box, hosted by Kaitlyn from Wifessionals. Cara Box is kind of like a monthly subscription box combined with a blog swap, only better! Each month has a different theme and you're paired up with two people- one person who sends you a box and a person you send a box to- which makes the boxes super personal. Plus, each box includes a letter of encouragement!

The end of the month means it's time to reveal who we were partnered up with and what we got. I was partnered with Heather and Terri...two Eastern Canadians!

The theme for May was "Let's Get Regional". We were tasked with  creating a box containing items from the region we live in. I LOVE this theme!

I love promoting Canada, including my home Province of Ontario, so I was really excited to put together a package with ties to my Province and the places I call 'home'. You can go here on Heather's blog to see what I sent her!

I love Canada and haven't had the chance to see much of the beautiful country I call home. With this theme, I was really excited to see what Terri would send me to represent her region. My Cara Box from Terri hasn't arrived yet, so I'm not able to post what she sent. My Cara Box from Terri arrived today (June 4). Here is what she sent:

  1. Bands to put around your beer bottle.
  2. Note pad with a coastal design.
  3. Shot glasses.
  4. Nail polish.
  5. Head band bought at the local market.
  6. Chocolate covered pretzel from the local market.
  7. Card.
  8. Another note pad.      

For the May Cara Box Link-Up Reveal can be found here. The June Cara Box theme and sign up list can be found here.
 
Thanks to Kaitlyn from Wifessionals for organizing this!


Project Pinterest- Crock Pot Shredded Chicken

Like everyone else, I am addicted to Pinterest and I've decided to actually try some of the things I pin. 

This month, I decided to try this pin- Crock Pot Shredded Chicken Sandwiches. The source of my pin is Mostly Homemade Mom and the original post can be found here.

For Christmas, I got a crock pot, which I had asked for, and I decided it was finally time to try it out. I checked out a ton of crock pot/slow cooker recipes that I had pinned and thought the shredded chicken would be the best one to try first- It looked easy, not a lot of ingredients and ingredients that were easy to find.

You will need:


  • Crock pot
  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 packet onion soup mix 
  • 1/4 zesty Italian salad dressing
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Garlic salt to taste
  • Buns
  • Cheese 
Place the chicken in the crock pot and cover the chicken with onion soup mix, garlic salt (I didn't have garlic salt, so I used garlic powder and salt), salad dressing and water. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8. Once done cooking, shredded chicken in the crock pot with a fork. Serve chicken on a bun with cheese.


The Verdict:
This is REALLY good! Super easy to make, smelled delicious while cooking and tasted really good. This is something I would make again- and, actually, already have! The original recipe said to serve on buns with cheese, as this is a recipe for a sandwich, which I did and it was good. I've also added the pulled chicken to pasta (noodles with oil, no sauce), which was really good and I've had this chicken on it's own...just brought some to work and had it for lunch.

Something to note: I'm not sure if this is just my crock pot or not...the first time I made this recipe, I cooked it on low. The chicken was moist, easy to pull apart and there was some extra 'sauce' to coat the chicken in. The second time I made this, I cooked it on high. The chicken wasn't as moist, it was harder to pull apart, no extra sauce and portions of the chicken weren't even coated. In the future, I will be making this on low only.

Something else to note: both times I made this, were days I happened to Skype with Justine!

You can find me on Pinterest here.


Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Hey! It's Ok

Idea taken from Amber at Airing My Dirty Laundry One Sock At A Time.

That I tried Dragon Boating last night. I had so much fun!

To be ready for the weekend...I know it's only Tuesday...but I need the weekend to be here.

That I'm sad that NYR's season is over.

To wish I could spend the day in bed. I'm exhausted and could use some extra sleep. But it's also a rainy day here...perfect weather to curl up in bed with a good book and/or watch a movie.

That I still think Friends is on of the funniest shows ever. 


Monday, 27 May 2013

Inspire Me

Another weekend has come and gone...and I'm about to start a super busy week- but that's pretty typical! Lots of work related events going on this week and a couple of fun things- like Dragon Boating tonight!

Some inspiration to start the week off:

Have a great week!

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Sunday Social- Summer

Happy Sunday! Weekends go so quickly and I know I'm not the only one to think that! I spent the weekend in the City, which is something I rarely do! A former co-worker and her husband came to the City on Friday for an event so I had dinner and a visit with them. I cleaned my apartment yesterday and had a Skype date with Justine. Today, my university roommate is coming to the City for lunch. I'm excited to see her!  

Tomorrow night, I'm trying out Dragon Boats! I've never done it before, but it looks fun! It's a learn to paddle event and a Dragon Boat practice...we're putting a team in for the Dragon Boat Festival...so it should be pretty fun!

Sunday Social

1. What is your best summer memory as a kid?
This is so hard...so many memories come to mind! I don't know if this is the best, but it is a favourite: We always used to go to Muskoka right after school finished. We stayed at nice resorts but it was like summer camp...tons of activities- sports, variety shows, boating, swimming, horseback riding, movie nights and bonfires were just some of the things we did. Tons of great memories with some really great people (staff and other guests). 

2. What is your favorite summer drink?
REAL iced tea! When you put tea bags in water and set it out in the sun...So good!

3. What is your favorite summer TV show?
Big Brother...of course!

4. What is the best outdoor summer activity?
The 3 B's- Beach, BBQ, Bonfire!

5. What are your summer vacation essentials?
Summer reading list, sunscreen (and lots of it!), flip flops, bathing suit cover up (throw this on and you can go into any store/restaurant/etc), pool and/or beach.


Saturday, 25 May 2013

Weekly What?

Linking up with my darling friend Jenn from Party of One for Weekly What?

Basically, you put all of your Monday-Friday posts in one post on Saturday and then link up your Saturday post! What a great idea!


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Here is my Weekly What?

MONDAY: I started the week off with a little inspiration.

TUESDAY: I linked up for Hey! It's Ok

WEDNESDAY: I shared some mid-week humour.

THURSDAY: I posted a recipe for Rum Punch.

FRIDAY: I finished the week by talking about out of town friends.


Friday, 24 May 2013

Favourite Thing- Vistits with Out of Town Friends

Happy Friday! One more work day and then on to the weekend! Like all my weekends, this weekend will be a busy one. I usually go away for weekends and rarely spend them in the City I work/live in. But this weekend, I'm staying in town. 
 
Less than a year ago, I moved an hour and half from the place I was living for a new job. I was ready to leave rural Ontario, move back to a City and start a new adventure. I wasn't ready to leave the four co-workers who turned into close friends. 

Well, tonight I will be reunited with one of my friends! Her and her husband will be in the City for an event. She sent me a message letting me know this and asked if I could stop by after work for a visit. Of course I said yes! I'm excited to see her and spend some time with her. I haven't seen her since the fall. I'm really looking forward to our visit. 

On Sunday, I will be reunited with (one of) my University roommate! We had so much fun when we lived together and have continued to be close friends- frequent phone calls and text messages, with the odd visit (a handful of times a year). I mentioned to her that I would be staying in the City this weekend and she offered to come for a visit...we're going to go out for lunch. No idea where we'll go, but I'm excited to see her and spend time with her. The last time she came to visit, it was to have dinner but we ended up at Target (my first and only visit to date to Target Canada) and then went to see The Great and Powerful Oz in 3D. So who knows what this visit will bring!

Hope everyone has a great Friday and weekend!

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Make With Me- Rum Punch

Rum Punch

Ingredients:
  • Light rum
  • Spiced rum
  • Coconut rum
  • Mango Juice
  • Pineapple juice
  • Pineapple chunks (optional)
To Make:
  • Mix light, spiced and coconut rums together
  • Add pineapple and mango juices
  • Garnish with pineapple chunks, if desired
  • Enjoy! 

Notes:
  1. This recipe is from Megan.
  2. With summer just around the corner and the warm weather already here, this is a great drink.
  3. I have used orange juice in place of mango juice, when I haven't been able to find mango juice.
  4. I have also added a splash of grenadine.


Wednesday, 22 May 2013

LOL- Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie

Happy Wednesday! Half way through the wee, which means we are THAT much closer to the weekend! Here's some mid-week humour:
 
 

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Hey! It's Ok

Idea taken from Amber at Airing My Dirty Laundry One Sock At A Time.

That I had an amazing long weekend! Family, beach, reading, bbqing...the weather was so nice- sunny and warm! Summer is officially on it's way!

To be sad the long weekend is over. I don't want to go back to work today.

To read an actual book. I love my Kindle...but sometimes, not beats picking up an actual book to read
That I was reunited with my summer friend this past weekend! This will be our third summer together and likely last. He'll be headed to England in September for his masters with internships between semesters. So happy for him...we'll have to make the most of this summer.

That I have 64 unread/need to reply to e-mails. Life is busy and I just need to set some time aside to go through them all. 


Monday, 20 May 2013

Inspire Me

Last day of the long weekend...I'm going to run some errands, become reunited with a summer friend and head to the beach for a bit before heading home and getting ready for my work week. It's been a great weekend!
 
Some inspiration for the week:
 
 


Sunday, 19 May 2013

Sunday Social- Surprises & Vacations

Long weekend here in Canada, so I have one day (Monday) left of my weekend...yea! I'm spending it at the 'cottage' with my family.

Sunday Social


1. What is your favorite kind of surprise?
Thoughtful, small ones...for example, a co-worker bring me a coffee in the morning.

2. Flowers or chocolate?
I like both...but I'm going to say flowers.

3. What is your favorite summertime activity?
The three B's- Beach, BBQ, Bonfires!

4. Do you have any vacations planned this summer?
No. I rarely take vacations in the summer. My office has summer hours and I spend most weekends at the 'cottage'. I do have plans to bring friends to the cottage though...it should be fun. 


5. Favorite summer holiday?Canada Day. I know it's a Monday this year...making it a long weekend. But it's nice to have this day off, sometimes right in the middle of the week. We spend it at the beach, we have a bbq and of course fireworks! We usually make smores too. It's just a really fun, laid back day. Plus, we get to celebrate the founding of Canada- I love reflecting on my country, everything we have done and stand for. So proud to be Canadian.

6. What is your dream vacation?
This changes all the time. I love Florida, and would go back any chance I get. I'm dying to See Ireland and would love to visit Italy. But I would have to say, hands down, my dream 'vacation' would be to travel Canada from coast-to-coast-to-coast. I would love to visit every Province & Territory and just see everything my country has to offer. I know that Canada is a beautiful country and each region has something different to offer...I would love to experience it all. 


Friday, 17 May 2013

Favourite Thing- May 2-4 Weekend

Happy Friday! What a long weeks it's been and once I get through today (a meeting with someone from our provincial office and the start of our second intern) I will be rewarded with one of my favourite things, May 2-4 weekend!

I'm pretty sure I write about this every year, but...I love this weekend! May 2-4 aka Victoria Day Weekend is just the long weekend in May. While originally created in honour of Queen Victoria this weekend is seen as the kick-off to summer- pools and cottages get opened, people go camping, barbeques get brought out, bond fires, etc.

I will, as usually be spending the weekend at my families second home. The rest of my family will be there too. It's the first weekend that we're all there and the start of at least one of us being there every weekend until Thanksgiving in October. 

The days will be spent on the beach, back to the house to sit on the patio until we start to BBQ, dinner and more patio sitting until we're ready for bed. Perhaps a bond fire and/or walk too as well. 

I'm really looking forward to this weekend, having time off, spending time with my family and, of course, getting ready for summer!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Book Club- The Ex-Debutante





Book: The Ex-Debutante A Novel
Author: Linda Francis Lee
Amazon Summary: 
When Carlisle Wainwright Cushing left her native Texas to start a new life in Boston, she had no regrets. The former Texas debutante, who never felt at home in her Southern skin, had found liberation--or so she thought. Until the day she gets an urgent call from her mother, reporting that: one, the Symphony Association Debutante Ball, which Carlisle's family has sponsored for years, is about to be called off; Two, her mother's divorce has the whole town talking; And three, the family's good name is at stake and Carlisle is the only one who can fix it all. So Carlisle takes a leave of absence from her law firm and goes to Texas to help. Her fiance, who has no idea she's an heiress, can't know that she's organizing the ball, handling the dramas of the girls involved, settling her mother's suit--and coming face to face with the true love of her life, whom she ran out on when she left Texas. Her trip home challenges Carlisle's sense of herself and brings the pieces of her past together, so that when she finally re-meets the man of her dreams, she's in a perfect place to tempt fate.
What I have to say: 
I had previously read another book by the same author (The Devil in the Junior League), which I really enjoyed. From what I had previously read about this book (descriptions, not reviews) it seemed that the book would focus primarily on the debutante ball. I wasn't crazy about this primary storyline but I do enjoy this author, so I thought I would give this book a try. I was pleasantly surprised to find the focus of this book was actually about Carlisle's family- her mother's divorce, her brother and his family coming back to Texas, her sister trying to get pregnant and of course the ball that was founded by her family 100 years ago.

This was a truly enjoyable read. Lots of entertaining drama and a dose of humour commonly found in chick lit,  made this a book that was hard to put down.


Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Pamper Me Pretty Reveal

Back in March, Lacey from Charm + Sass and I decided we wanted to host a swap together. Next thing you know, Pamper Me Pretty was born! Lacey and I had so much fun organizing this swap and I can't believe it's time to link up and share what our partners sent! 


I was partnered with Lacey from Charm + Sass.I could smell her package before I even opened it...and it smelled good! 

I opened the package and saw this:

So much stuff!

  1.  Jemima J- I had told Lacey, that my life is so hectic that having time to read is really relaxing for me. Lacey sent me this book, which was from her collection. I love getting books from friends that were there's to begin with! A little extra love, a little extra meaning. Plus, this book has been on my reading list forever!
  2.  Card from Lacey- she wrote me the sweetest message!
  3. Jane Austen Ruined My Life- Another book from Lacey's collection. I remember hearing about this book and can't wait to read it!
  4. Sea Kelp- This is actually a travel pack and has body wash, shampoo, body butter and soap. 
  5. Wax Tarts- The scent is 'fresh bread'. Smells good and I can't wait to burn them! Best part? Lacey MADE them!!! How great is that?!?!? I  had no idea that my friend/partner was so talented!
  6. Coca Butter Body Wash- Smells good and I can't wait to try it!
  7. Nail file
  8. After Sun Moisturizing Gel- Tropical Coconut. I think I mentioned this to Lacey...I love being outside and at the beach (reading, of course). I burn super easily so this will come in handy!
  9. Nail Polish- It's a great pink colour called Thimbleberry. This will be a perfect colout for the summer. 
  10. Loofah Exfoliating Scrub- Peaches & Passion...also smells good. I actually almost out of the body scrub I usually use, so I will be trying this super soon. 
  11. elf Lotion Wipes- Vanilla Coconut. Coconut is actually one of my favourite scents! This is actually a company I have yet to find in Canada (another swap partner introduced me to their lip balm). I have super dry skin and these wipes are supposed to hydrate and moisturize. I'm excited to try them and see what happens to my skin. 
  12. Wax Tarts- Also made by Lacey! The scent is Hazlenut Coffee...one of the best scents! So good!
  13. Wax Tarts- These ones are Sweet Tea and also smells so good! Can't wait to try these...and of course, made by Lacey!
  14. Cooling Eye Mask- I have never tried one of these masks before, but have wanted to for ages. 
  15. Detoxifying Dead Sea Mud Mask
  16. Revitalizing Lemon Balm Spa Masque
Did Lacey spoil me or what???? So many great things and I can not wait to try them out! Lacey made sure that I would be pampered and Pretty!

Thanks so much Lacey!

Now it's your turn to link up and share what you got to 'Pamper Me Pretty'!



Monday, 13 May 2013

Inspire Me

Happy Monday! I had another great weekend filled with family and friends. I have busy week this week, filled with family, friends and meetings! While it will be a hectic week, it should also be pretty fun. 

Have a great week!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Sunday Social- 1, 5, 10 Years

First of all....Happy Mother's Day!I know that everyone says they have the best mom, but my mom really is the best! She is the most kind, giving, selfless and funny people I know. You can read more about my mom here. I am so, so, so lucky that she's my mom. I love you mom and I hope you have an amazing day!

Sunday Social


1. 1 year ago I was doing...
Exactly one year ago today was my Aunt Mary's funeral. I had also just left my job (contract ended) and was trying to figure out what to do next. 
 
2. 5 years ago I was doing...
2008...I was still living in my hometown, working in insurance, getting ready for my high school reunion (held in May and I was on the committee) and I was getting ready for a city wide event (I was chair) that was taking place in July. 
3. 10 years ago I was doing...
2003...I had just finished my first year at Brock University, I was taking a summer course (Physical Geography, which was my science credit) and waitressing at a golf course. Ohh...to be a university student again!
4. 1 year from now I'll be doing...
Oh gosh...I hope to be in the same place, more or less, that I now. I love my job, I love where I live, I love my friends, I love...everything about my life. I would like to not be working on a contract and making a bit more money (the joys of working in non-profit!) but I don't think I'd change much else. Well, I would like to be more focused on events/sponsorship/fundraising and less on admin/volunteers.
5. 5 years ago I'll be doing...
I'll be in my 30's, so I hope to be "settled" whatever that means. Maybe working at a provincial level, but with the same organization. I just want to be happy. 

6. 10 years from now I'll be doing...
See above! I'm not the type of person to plan in advance. I know that life happens and things changes. You have to be adaptable. 10 months ago, I had a plan for what I would be doing in a year. In October, December, February and April that planned drastically. Life is a journey, an experience, a mystery,,,and I can't wait to see it all!

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Weekly What?

Linking up with my darling friend Jenn from Party of One for Weekly What?

Basically, you put all of your Monday-Friday posts in one post on Saturday and then link up your Saturday post! What a great idea!


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Here is my Weekly What?

MONDAY: I started the week off with 5 Questions, as answered by Hilary Butler!

TUESDAY: I linked up for Hey! It's Ok Tuesday

WEDNESDAY: I shared my trip to St Augustines.

THURSDAY: I posted the info about Chelsea's Birthday Giveaway.

FRIDAY: I finished the week by talking about Justine.


Friday, 10 May 2013

Favourite Thing- Bigs & Littles Network

Back in February, I had a V-Blate with Kaitlyn from Wifessionals and she suggested that I sign up for the Bigs & Littles Network...so I did!
Northern Belle Diaries

I was lucky enough to be paired with the super sweet Justine from Sleepy Single Girl. I quickly fell in love with her blog and she and I hit it off right away. We've exchanged e-mails and had our own V-Blate. We talked for just over an hour and didn't even mention blogging...we were too busy chatting away.

Justine is so much fun...there was a lot of laughing going on! We have plans to chat again soon and I can't wait!

I am so happy we were partnered together...I look forward to getting to know Justine better and maybe even talk about our blogs!


Thursday, 9 May 2013

Chelsea's Birthday Giveaway- $230 Dolla Billz

Who doesn't like to win some big cash money? I sure do. Chelsea (aka my blog designer) recently turned 22 and obviously the best way to celebrate is by throwing up some dollar bills. $230 dollar bills to be exact. Not actually throwing them up in the air for you to scramble and collect but throwing into a pile for you to win. Making sense? Nope. Enjoy!

$230 DOLLA BILLZ GIVEAWAY!




Wednesday, 8 May 2013

St Augustine, Florida- The Experience

At the end of March, I headed to St Augustine, Florida for a little vacation. I had a great time! I love Florida and I love getting away for a few days. The drive is about 16.5 hours, so we had two days of driving (one there, one back) and four full days in Florida.

View from the pool at night...lying down and looking up
The weather was sunny, warm and beautiful. I really couldn't have asked for a better trip. Every day, was essentially the same- which I was more than ok with.

View from front of the condo...landscape is pretty and you can see the pool
I woke up about 8:20am and headed for breakfast. After breakfast, we went to a store (Winn Dixie, Alvins' Surf Shop, etc...one store a day) to pick up a few things. Then back to the condo to get ready for the pool- which is where we spent most of the day. We went down to the pool between 10:30 and 11, where I did a lot of reading, relaxing, a bit of swimming and not much else. 

Poolside
 Around 5-5:30, it was back to the condo for Happy Hour on the balcony. After which, we headed out for dinner. We'd stop at CoCo Mango for frozen yogurt on our way back to the condo. Once back at the condo, I would head back to the pool for some reading or a night swim, then back to the condo to sit on the balcony to unwind a bit before going to bed and starting all over again.

View from the balcony
The first day, we went to The Wildflower Cafe for breakfast. The food was ok, the service was ok...we didn't go back. What we didn't like, is that they were seating everyone on one side of the restaurant, while the other side was empty. The tables were close together and it just felt really crowded.

The first night for dinner, we went to La Strada, this great Italian place down the street from the condo. The food was delicious and the service is good, but slow. Only go if you are not in a hurry to be anywhere else. We had actually been before and will likely go back.

Pool at night- view from second floor
Pool side at night
 Friday, Saturday and Sunday for breakfast and then Friday and Saturday for dinner, we went to The Oasis. The fact that we went for five consecutive meals, should let you know it`s pretty good! This is hands down our favourite restaurant and would've gladly gone for all of our meals. Breakfast, was no problem to get a table but we had a bit of a wait (WELL worth it) for dinner. Everything about this place is amazing- the food, the service, the atmosphere. We always had breakfast in the bar, which is on the second floor, taking a table by the windows. Dinner we ate in the dinning room downstairs one night and on the patio the next night. I honestly love this place and we happily waited 30-45 minutes for a table.

The Oasis
 On Sunday, which was our last night there, we went to Dune's Cracker House. This is a restaurant we had been to before and I specifically requested that we go during this trip. We went on Easter Sunday, so they weren't too busy. The food and service are both good. The atmosphere is unique...it's such an old building. This is the only place we drove to- we were walking distance to everything else- but it was about a 5 minute drive, so still close.

Outside of the Dune
Inside The Dune
I already wrote about my love for CoCo Mango, which you can read here.

CoCo Mango
All in all, it was an amazing and relaxing trip. I love Florida and I can't wait to go back again next year!