TURNING 40 IN CABO

Well, better late than never. I was really hoping to get this post up long before now, but hey such is life right now... C R A Z Y.  Thanks for being patient, because I am beyond excited to share with you one of my best birthdays yet! It's filled with a few snip-it's about the party + all the pretty details and lots and lots of pictures taken by the very talented Ana & Jerome. Every detail was perfect, planned by the love of my life and put together by some of Cabo's most creative minds. I'm one lucky girl to have spent a week in paradise with my some of my favorite people on earth and surround by so much love. Consider this an invite, put your dancin' shoes on and enjoy the party! 

Xx
Landyn

Cabo is one of our favorite places to vacation, so when it came time to planning my 40th birthday my husband knew this is where it had to be. Party planning and decorating are not in Steve’s wheelhouse and especially being married to someone like me, who turns everyday life into a party. HA! He knew he must call in the expert, Lynette Dow of Amy Abbott Events, if he was going to pull this one off. He secured this AMAZING home through Cabo Luxury that sits on the edge of the Sea of Cortez. Maybe amazing doesn’t even begin to cover it. This home was an absolutely DREAM. I mean you guys.....I have never in my life seen anything like it. It was the most perfect accommodations for 14 of our lifelong friends to join us for a week of celebrations. 

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It wasn’t long before Steve decided he better hand the party planning over to the girls. Which quite honestly was the best gift he could have given me. There’s nothing I LOVE more than planning a party. We all got down to business and started planning the birthday party of my dreams. I knew I wanted a modern, yet elegant party with all the fun of a fiesta. Most of the colors in my life, from my wardrobe to my home are shades of white, pops of black and touches of gold. I gave Lynette and Marianna of Event Design all the ideas and they ran with them. They both were on top of every detail, making sure we had the time of our lives. Boy did we ever! 

Pina Hernandez of Pina Cate was brought in to add her beautiful flora touches. Together these ladies took my love of clean lines with a modern edginess in black and white to select the perfect decor and flowers. The flowers and leaves that they used, included potted succulents which added great texture to the table tops. The pottery vases and stone votives gave a little masculine feel to the feminine flowers which softened the palate perfectly. The Alcapulco style furniture is modern + fun and currently on-trend. It gave the terrace an industrial feel, but was effortlessly softened with floral accents. From the napkins to the pillows each detail complimented the next. 

There were lounge areas set up around the party inviting our friends to gather and take a moment to enjoy the beautiful views and setting sun that painted the most exquisite backdrop for the party. It truly was insanely gorgeous and everything couldn't have been more perfect! 

Upon arrival each guest was handed a delicious margarita that was poured inside a cucumber that had been hand carved with their name. All the while the sound of the mariachi band lead them to the party. It was perfect and I was so surprised by this addition to the party. That hubby of mine outdid himself yet again. I pretty much want a mariachi band at every function. HA! Not to mention the chef and his team created the most delicious Mexican fare you ever did taste. I'm still dreaming about those stuffed avocados. 

Not to mention the chef and his team created the most delicious Mexican fare you ever did taste. I'm still dreaming about those stuffed avocados. So damn good. Through out the night we continued to devour all this amazing food, and each bite was better than the next. We wanted a flow of passed food, allowing the party to stay upbeat and full of fun. We had been sitting family style together each night leading up to the party, so passed hors d’oeuvres seemed the way to go. The chefs attention to detail did not go unnoticed. I don't know about you, but Mexican food is my life line. 

Beautiful flower crowns created by Pina Hernandez were given to each one of my girls. Each one woven with delicate green and white flowers. A special one was created just for the birthday girl that had the addition of wild white roses and mini succulents to give it a little extra touch. I felt like a princess, or maybe a bride. We did just celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary earlier this spring, so why not. The planning was just as much fun as a wedding. And I'd marry this hunk again and again. 

Dj Alex played all our favorite eighties and nineties hits during cocktail hour, then took us right past curfew will all the top pop dance hits and classic rock. We never wanted to stop dancing, and we never did. My friend Jen even tried her hand at the whole DJ thing. It was so great. He definitely knew how to keep this crew going. And thanks to you guys, we had one hell of a play list. 

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Sweet Dreams Cabo was behind making this stunning two tiered cake adorned with succulents made of fondant. Inside was a rich chocolate cake with ganache filling, that was not to be over shadowed by the bottom tier vanilla cake with buttercream filing which was equally as divine. Atop sat the word  f o r t y no candles necessary, just sparklers that danced in the back ground as we sang happy birthday and toasted to a lifetime of friendship. 

It was the perfect evening to close out a magical week celebrating this milestone with my closest friends, in one of the most beautiful places in the world. It’s sure to never be forgotten. Bring on the next 40! 
 


LIVIN LA VIDA LANDYN 

THE MOVIE | PRODUCED BY NICOLLE CLAWSON 

So, I have this badass friend. She's a wife, mom, accomplished songwriter and all around creative genius. She's pure magic with a camera and same can be said with video. She secretly captured all these moments during our week there together, and gave me this video to cherish forever. I've watched it a million times, and each time I cry. There is no greater gift than the memories you create. And boy did we ever. I love you, Nic. Thank you for this. And yes...go follow her @nicatnitemusic and be prepared to have your mind blown daily. 



EVENT INFO + SOURCES


Event coordination:  Lynette Dow for Amy Abbott Events
Instagram:  @amyabbottevents
website:  www.amyabbottevents.com

Event Design: Event Design by Marianna Idirin in collaboration with Amy Abbott Events
Rentals:  Marianna Idirin
Instagram:  @eventdesignbymariannaidirin
website: www.mariannaidirin.com

Florist: Pina Hernandez
website: www.pinacatedesigns.com
Instagram: @pinacate0202  

Cake: Sweet Dreams Cabo by Deena Fischer
facebook: sweet dreams cabo
Instagram:  @sweet_dreams_cabo

Custom Cups + Napkins: You're Invited Nashville
Instagram: @yinashville

Photographer:  Ana & Jerome
website: www.anaandjerome.com
Instagram:  @anaandjerome

Mariachi:  Mariachi Nuevo Jalisciense Oficial
facebook: Mariachi Nuevo Jalisciense Oficial

Music:  DJ Alex Alanis
Instagram:  @alexdjcaboevents

Lighting:  Let it Be Events
Instagram:  @let_it_be_events

Sand Lounge Decor:  Del Cabo Event Design
Instagram:  @delcaboeventdesign

Home Rental: Cabo Luxury
Instagram:  @cabo_luxury


SKIN CARE ROUTINE

I get SO many questions about my skincare routine, so today I am going to go over everything I do and use so that you guys can have it for reference.  I have tried lots of different products over the years, and most of the products I am about to tell you about I have used for years and years and absolutely love. The two primary skincare brands that I use are Revision Skincare and SkinMedica and I mix and match their products depending on my needs.

First things first, I am a RELIGIOUS face washer.  Seriously, I can count on both hands the number of times in my life I have gone to bed without washing my face. No matter how drunk or tired I've been. My momma taught me that. I wash it two times a day, once in the morning *not always* and once before bed.  In the morning I wash my face with the Revisions Brightening Facial Wash.  I love this product because it does not dry your face out or leaves it tight feeling.  If you use it consistently over time it really does brighten your skin and help improve the overall tone of your skin.  By tone, I mean the evenness of your complexion, so if you have sun spots, redness or any other discoloration of your complexion that you want to work to get rid of. This is a great choice.  After I wash my face I use the Revision Vitamin C Lotion 30%.  This product just helps to brighten my skin and protect it from free radicals and pollutants in the air that cause aging.  Once I have added the Vitamin C Lotion I use the SkinMedica Rejuvenative Lotion.  After that I put on my Revision Intellishade.  That is a tinted product that really does provide pretty good coverage, so some days that is all I wear unless I have something that requires me to have heavier make-up.  I use the Intellishade Matte in the summer and then the regular Intellishade in the fall and winter.

In the evening my routine is fairly similar to what I do in the morning.  My first step is to always remove my make-up with my Ponds Make-Up Removing Wipes.  Once I have removed the make-up I use my Brightening Facial Wash and apply the SkinMedica Retinol. I am not using this this summer because you really have to be careful about sun exposure when using this product, but I typically do year round. I only use it every other night and I worked up from a .25% and it goes all the way to 1%.  Again, not a great product to use in the summer though because it really can cause you to burn if you aren't careful about the sun.  I put this product on after I wash my face and before I put my lotion on.  There is one other product that I have used off and on, that I absolutely love.  It is the SkinMedica TNS Essentials Serum.  It is VERY expensive, but I can totally tell a difference when I use it on a regular basis.  I haven't used it in a while, but after all the sun exposure I have gotten this summer I am going to be bringing it back into rotation. FOR SURE.  I get asked all the time about eye creams that I use.  Honestly, I have tried a ton, from very expensive to drugstore brands, and I honestly don't feel like they have made that much of a difference.  I am not prone to super dark circles under my eyes, so I just make sure that I really apply my moisturizer well around my eyes and call it a day.  Lastly, one time per week I will use the SkinMedica Glycolic Exfoliating Skin Wash.

My last two tips are simple and really DO make a huge difference. The first is the most basic, but I feel the most important is the HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE.  Drinking plenty of water is the most important step, outside of wearing sunscreen, in keeping your skin healthy.  You truly are what you eat and drink and if you eat healthy and get plenty to drink, it will definitely show through your skin. 

The other tip I have learned over the course of my last two facials is to ditch the Clarisonic face brush.  Now mind you, I have been a HUGE devotee to my Clarisonic for many, many years and I always thought I was doing a great thing for my skin by making sure I really got it clean every night.  However, the aestheticians who did my last two facials both said that I had a lot of broken blood vessels on my face.  It turns out that they were caused by me washing my face with my Clarisonic.  It was just to rough and aggressive for my skin.  Both of the women said that really you only need the pressure your hands can apply to get your skin clean and the Clarisonic can do more harm than good.  They also said that it is a breeding ground for bacteria and it can often cause break outs and clogged pores *which I was seeing* because you are continuously introducing bacteria to your skin.  I have heeded their advice and honestly can tell a huge difference in my complexion.  One last thing, my husband and kids gave me a gift certificate to Karee Hayes for Christmas and while I was there my aesthetician Ashley recommended a product I have been loving.  They are called Kojii Pads and they are available through Karee Hayes.  They are amazing and leave your skin with that beautiful glow.  They come already pre-soaked with kojic acid and arbutase, to help lighten and brighten your skin and suppresses pigment. So all you have to do is rub one over your face and let the product dry.  They are AWESOME!

As you guys see on my Insta-stories, I apply a mask every Sunday night, and sometimes more frequently if I feel like I need it.  I try lots of different masks and masks for different purposes.  My old faithful stand-by mask is the Revisions Black Mask.  I am also really loving the Origins Clear Improvements Charcoal Mask.  This is a great deep cleaning mask that removes impurities from the skin and helps reduce pore size.  If I have a big photoshoot or a special event, I use the Herbivore Brighten Instant Glow Mask.  You use this for three days in a row and then every other day after that.  It really works and you can totally tell a big difference.  This would be a perfect mask if you were a bride-to-be or had a big function that you really wanted your skin to have that healthy glow.

Of course routine trips to your dermatologist are important as well. I see Dr. Lorien Sites - Nashville Skin and Cancer for it all...pretty skin, yearly mole checks, Botox and some good 'ol girl talk. Cause ladies she is ALL. THE. THINGS. She's smart *obviously* and has been so great at helping me simplify my skin care routine. Educating me on what products to invest in and what not to. Taking her advice has made a world of difference in my skin. She's about my age and a mother of two. She just gets it. 

Hope this post answered most of your questions and gave you some insight to my daily skincare routine. Go ahead ladies, put your best face forward! 
Xx
Landyn


ALL MY FACIAL FAVORITES



BROILED SALMON WITH ARTICHOKE + KALE QUINOA


I totally made this one up, like I do with most all my recipes. It turned out really good, so I had to share. I'm always trying to incorporate new grains and get creative. I love quinoa, but my hubby always says it's so bland.. yadda yadda. I was on a mission to make him love it! Guess what, he loved it! The other thing I love about this one, is it's a ONE pot meal. Which means less dishes for momma. 

Xx
Landyn


WHAT YOU'LL NEED


  • 6 oz fresh salmon filets, skin off
  • 1 large can of artichoke hearts, quartered and drained
  • 1 jar of roasted red peppers, drained and sliced
  • 1 bunch of dinosaur kale, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 32oz of low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup of Lundberg Farms quinoa
  • 1 lemon
  • olive oil

WHAT TO DO


  1. In a dutch oven or deep pot, add a few tablespoons of olive oil and bring to medium heat. 
  2. Salt + pepper salmon filets and sear for about 1 minutes on one side. Remove from pot and set aside. 
  3. Turn the heat down to low/med and add olive oil and onion and sautee until translucent. 
  4. Add chicken stock and chopped kale. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. 
  5. Add quinoa, artichokes and sliced red peppers, and lemon juice, stir. 
  6. Place salmon filets in pot. Carefully nestle them down into the broth and veggies. 
  7. Place a lemon slice of each filet *pretty choices*
  8. Cover and cook for 12-15 minutes or until salmon is cooked to desired temp. 

SHOP THE POST


 

 

 

VACATION RECAP: ST. LUCIA

Well, I’m back. Back to reality, back to waking up to an alarm and making my own coffee. Ha! I mean seriously, we went from one vacation (adult trip to Cabo for my 40th) to another (St. Lucia with the kiddos). I’m not gonna lie.. reentry after being wined and dined for 3 weeks was rough, but TOTALLY worth it. Cause if you were tuned into any of my instastories while we were gone, you will know exactly what I’m talking about. 

While in St. Lucia I had so many direct messages and emails asking “where are you, Landyn?” “what resort is this?” “Is it all inclusive?” “did they pay for your family to stay there?” “is it easy to get to?” “is it good for kids?”  “Are you taking all these pictures on your iPhone?”  “where did you get your cover up + dress + necklace?” I love getting your questions and usually I try to answer them in a reasonable time, but I was doing my best to disconnect this trip, and enjoy this precious family time together. Which was such a joy. So, I’m here today to answer all of your questions and then some. 

just before landing in St. Lucia

just before landing in St. Lucia

Let me get one question out of the way…..nope, the resort did NOT pay for my family to have this dreamy vacation. That would have been nice :) We saved and planned for this vacation just like all of you. Remember back last winter, I asked you all for suggestions of places to go. I wanted tropical, nice resort, easy to get to, kid friendly, but not one of those cheesy ones where you’ve got to wear a wristband?  My inbox was overflowing with suggestions, and so many good ones. Funny enough, a few of you mentioned St. Lucia. At the same time my husband and I searched the internet for weeks trying to find the perfect place. In the end it was between The Viceroy Sugar Beach and Four Seasons Anguilla. Both extremely nice, but in the end Sugar Beach was easier to get to. So, St. Lucia it was and boy, did we ever choose right. Let me tell you about it…….


THE VICEROY SUGAR BEACH


pretty stoked about their room

pretty stoked about their room

We left Mexico, flew home to Nashville. Said hello to my in-laws and Jack, did some laundry and flew out Florida the very next day. My kids had been with my parents while we were in Cabo. Spent a day and half loving up on my side of the family, then off to the airport we went. We flew out of Miami to St. Lucia. The flight was super easy, and believe it or not it was still about a 3 hours and 45 minute flight. It’s darn near Venezuela. Look it up. 

the view

the view

drinking coffee in this bed was terrible ;)

drinking coffee in this bed was terrible ;)


Like anytime you arrive in a foreign country, know where you’re going. As in set up your transportation ahead of time. They see you coming a mile away and may try to take advantage of you. It’s like we have a stamp on our forehead DUMB AMERICAN lol. Not like they will harm you, just charge you double in taxi fees to get you to your hotel. Just say, no thank you and keep walking. Knowing this we set up airport pickup and return ahead of time. We used Barefoot Holidays. Our driver was fantastic. Local gentleman, never has left the island and was fun to chat with. In the end we got a full 1 hour tour about the island. He was proud and happy to tell us everything about his country. We all enjoyed it. Learned that St. Lucia was under British and French rule 14 times over. They became an independent country in 1979. They supply all the bananas to great Britain. They love country music. Summer is their rainy season and they drive on the left.

everything is begging to be photographed

everything is begging to be photographed

Sugar Beach is about a windy 1 hour drive from the airport. Along the way we saw many colorful houses, people walking barefoot on 100 degree blacktop and more Nissan sprinter vans than we could count. Quite a few goats roaming free along the roadsides. Majestic views of the ocean through the lush mountain sides and one standoff in the middle of the road with a cow. It was perfect, and a cultural eye opening experience for the kids. 

Upon arriving at the resort we were welcomed by the most magical human you’ll ever meet. His name was Sherman. He was right out of a Disney storybook. His eyes were the prettiest green, his voice high pitched and joyous. It’s like he danced on air. He knew all our names and right where we were going. He jumped in the passenger seat with four of the prettiest coconut drinks you ever did see, paper umbrellas and all, and rode up with us to our villa, smiling from ear to ear the entire way. We all feel instantly in-love with him, even Steve. He was our guy and would be throughout our stay. 

He wouldn’t let us touch our bags. He said we were on vacation now, and that he was there to make sure everything was perfect. He began with the tour, walking us through the villa, opening every door and drawer. Explaining the Nespresso machine, that half of the mini bar was FREE and every night he would be leaving a treat on our bedside table. Then he handed Steve this magical little phone, it was blue and looked like a toy. He said whatever you need- 24 hours a day….just call. Need a ride to breakfast? Call. Want to rent a movie? Call. Need something ironed? Call. Want to go sightsee on the island? Call. Honestly, I just wanted to call and hear his voice when he answered. Sherman was ALL. THE. THINGS. (not sure if you can request Sherman, but I would definitely try) He made the trip so special. 

our villa

our villa

Our villa was perfect. Number 805 + 806 to be exact. They are like little gingerbread houses all in white, and tucked in privately along the lush mountain side. The interiors are white as well. It’s a dream. Each bed is draped in a mosquito net, very romantic if you ask me. The softest linens, I scoured every square inch looking for a tag. I will find out. I need them in my life. The bathroom was huge and each had a clawfoot tub, in addition to a massive marble shower for two. Since we had the kids we were put in a villa that had two adjoining rooms that were connected by a darling foyer. Completely private, and gave the kids a since of independence and us our privacy. 

also excited about having this little splash pool outside their room

also excited about having this little splash pool outside their room

this is Blaze, he'll make you the BEST pina colada beach side

this is Blaze, he'll make you the BEST pina colada beach side

he boats over every morning with all this gorgeous fruit

he boats over every morning with all this gorgeous fruit


DINING 


The resort has four restaurants, so no need to ever really leave. Although we were told about two really good spots, but never ventured out. Ladera- amazing views and food, and Boucan - everything thing on the menu has chocolate somehow incorporated in each dish. 

Bayside Restaurant- serving lunch and dinner. We ate here most nights. They food was fantastic. They have 3 specials that change nightly giving you some variance to the menu, but there was plenty to keep you happy. I wanted to try it all. Our favorites were the Red Curry w/ Shrimp, Zarzuela, Fennel Crusted Mahi, Heirloom Tomato Salad and the Seafood Chowder. They offer a pretty good kids menu and will accommodate any request; like plain pasta etc. My kids loved the roasted chicken. 

Bayside Bar- everything from sushi to pizza - while sitting right on the beach, I’m talking toes in the sand. 

The Cane Bar- serving sushi and designer cocktails- and offer entertainment most nights. No children after 10pm. We enjoyed a date night there and let the kids stay back and order room service. Get the edamame! 

The Great Room- serving dinner and more formal dress. Men must have pants, and Steve didn’t bring any, so we never got to experience it. Although, Sherman offered to find some and I bet if he couldn’t he would have pulled them out of his magic hat. Also a little bird told us we weren’t missing anything. Apparently they has an awesome chef that left and the guy now is so-so. 

The Terrace- serving breakfast daily on the patio. They have a full menu, in addition to a pretty sweet continental buffet inside. Everything was homemade.... banana bread, local nuts and fruits, kale juice, yogurt, salmon and cured meats. The waffles were my kids favorites. We loved the egg white and veggie omelets and each comes with these little hash brown thingy that are out of this world! 


DRINKS


Ok, so when you're on vacation you must get all the fruity drinks- here were our favorites to sip on poolside: Passion Fruit Daiquiri’s, Tequila + soda water and fresh orange juice, Banana Daiquiri’s and Pina Colada’s. The kids kept a steady hold on Blue Virgin Pina Coladas and Strawberry Daiquiris’s. Same menu is offered while sitting under those picturesque tiki huts for two. Along with a great beach lunch menu. Need I go on……it’s everything. And at least 5 times a day they come by and offer you a refreshing lavender cool towel or some sort of complimentary fruit tea. We never wanted to leave. 


RAINFOREST SPA


Oh man, where do I begin… I’ve been to some spas in my travels over the years, but I've never been to anything like this. The spa is literally sitting within a rainforest. Each treatment room is its own little tree house perched on a limb within what looks like Swiss Family Robinson Tree house. Its really something to see. Steve and I knew we wanted to treat ourselves to a massage, but then we were like what about the kids? Did we want to just leave them to fend for themselves for 80 minutes? We thought what the heck…lets see if they have kid services. Well, of course they do. HA!  Lily has been wanting to get a teen facial at home, so why not, now seemed like the perfect time. That’s what she got and se LOVED it. How could she not, those are my favorite too. Then there was Luke, what treatment could a 10 year old boy want or even want to do? Then the lady at the reception desk suggested a chocolate wrap. Yep, the boy got a 25 min back massage and then was wrapped in chocolate. Yep, you guessed it… he LOVED it. As we sent them off in their little white robes we had to laugh. All we could picture is their sweet little faces and eyes starring at the ceiling not knowing what to expect. After the kids walked to their treatments, Steve and I were escorted into our room and enjoyed the most relaxing couples hot stone massage. Of course it was ALL. THE. THINGS.  


ADVENTURE 


So, lets say you are tired of sitting (not sure why. lol) under your tiki hut and wanna be adventurous, the hotel offers all sorts of complimentary rentals. From snorkel gear to paddle boards and even kaiaks. The only this that cost is water skiing and tubing. We spent the $96 and had them take the four of us tubing. It was a hoot. We laughed so hard, and never flipped. I thought for sure we were going over with Steve on one side of that thing. Ha! Good times. 

On our third day we called Sherman and asked if he could set up a little tour for us. We had been hearing about the mud baths and these waterfalls. He said sure thing, The Explore Soufriere Tour it is. Be ready at 9 am after breakfast and you’ll be back by noon. He said all we needed was swim suits and our camera. He’d take care of the rest. We were greeted by Simeon, another gem of a guy. I’m telling you everyone was so nice and fun to be with. He greeted us with a smile and fresh towels and off we went. First stop was the sulfur mud baths. We got there early, I hear it can be very crowded, but we lucked out. Only us and another family of four from England and a couple from Texas that were taking a much needed vacation after throwing their daughter a dream wedding. Can you blame them. Simeon stayed right there with us and stepped in as camera man and honorary tote bag holder for the day. He said, I’m like the paparazzri! Ha! And that he was. 

The mud bathes are something to see. It wasn’t what I pictured, but pretty cool nonetheless. It’s more of a concrete hot tub. It’s a constant flow of 100 degree muddy water making it’s way from the volcano into the tub (that’s where you sit) and then down into these babbling brooks and then I’m assuming into the ocean? Yes, it smells like rotten eggs, but nothing you can’t get used to and to be honest that didn’t bother any of us much. You first take about 15 minutes and soak in this grey muddy tub said to make you ten years younger. In that case, can I stay 15 more minutes? After you soak up to your chin, being careful NOT to get any in your mouth…it’s basically a laxative if you do. After that you step out and walk up stream, where you then have fun painting yourself and each other with the thick stuff. Putting it everywhere, even your face. Kids had fun adding tribal lines to our faces and each others. We looked like some sort of ancient aztec warriors. Then you stand along the edge and close your eyes and let the sun bake it on. It was quite relaxing and peaceful. Once the dark grey mud dries it turns into a chalky white color. After that you rinse back into the mud tub. I couldn’t get over how soft and silky my skin felt. Pretty amazing. I’m now thinking of adding some sort of sulfur mud mask to my Sunday night routine. 

After our “spa” treatment we were guided on a tour of the volcano and the active beds where till this day are still active. It hasn't erupted since the late 18th century, and I was hoping this wouldn't be the week either. It was pretty informative and was guided by a local man that pointed out all sorts of fun facts + species of plants and fruit trees. I learned that it takes a bananas tree 9 months to bare fruit and that each plant only does it once. And that there is only ONE single cashew per pod on a cashew tree. Who knew? 

Next stop was the waterfalls and as Simeon informed us, “the water isn’t cold, it’s REFRESHING” No, it’s freakin’ FREEZING, but we didn’t travel this far to not go in. After the initial shock of it all it was quite refreshing and as a matter of fact we all went under a few times. It was awesome and made for some pretty pictures and a feeling of badassory! I totally recommend it. The day continued to be a treat and our next stop was a botanical garden and I have never in my life seen so many beautiful flowers and so many interesting species of plants. The best part, the tour was lead by a local. He didn’t work at the garden. He didn't have a uniform, as a matter of fact he appeared to be wearing the same clothes for quite some time. He walked with a limp and carried a small cane, but his personality and knowledge for everything living thing on the tour was bigger that life, and a smile that matched it. I could have listened to him for days. He was hysterical too. I love tours and learning about things, and he made my day. He gladly accepts tips and I was happy to reward him. 

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The tour ended with a stop by a local restaurant that had the most amazing views. We sat on an open air porch at two tables along the edge. We enjoyed jerk chicken, fish cakes, baked bread fruit, the most delicious fried bread and their island fruit tea. So good and all part of the tour. It was an amazing day and one we won’t forget. It was informative, half a day and unforgettable. The total cost for the 4 of us was $320 


We spent most of our days relaxing + eating and drinking on the most beautiful beach nestled between the mighty Pitons. I mean what else could you ask for. The weather was dreamy. It stayed between 85 and 95 degrees. Yes, there was humidity, but the breeze off the ocean was constant and refreshing. The service was excellent and everyone was so lovely and attentive, yet not obnoxious. The one thing I will say is that the food service was at a leisurely pace. Not sure if that’s the point, to take your time and enjoy each experience or are we always in a rush back home and it was hard to just relax. It didn't really bother me once I was there a for a day or two. It’s also a European thing, so maybe that was it. Hey, I wasn’t cooking…so I wasn't complaining. They can take all the time they need. 

The resort is only four years old. It was a Marriott I believe they said before being completely renovated and developed into what is now The Vicerory Sugar Beach. And before that a resort called The Jalouise once lived here for over 30+ years. A lot of you asked why we picked this resort and I touched on that earlier. Honestly, it gets back to the theme of this year for me…Making Pretty Choices. It really is the theme of my life. It applies to everything, even choosing a vacation spot.  When scouring the internet all those nights, the one thing I looked for was decor and the aesthetic of each potential choice. Call me crazy, but if I’m going to spend our hard earned money on a vacation once a year….damn it, it’s gonna be pretty. I want to to look like a place I’d live. If possible I would like it decorated in every shade of white. I would like it clean, and picturesque. Because for that week, I’m escaping the stress of real life and going to imagine that I am a queen and live on this secluded beach. It was all a dream. It was such a magical place to disconnect from the daily grind and reconnect with my precious little family. We just LOVED it and I can't recommend it enough. If you're looking for just that…..go. 


SUMMER SUITCASE


 

 


BEST OF WHAT'S LEFT IN THE NORDSTROM ANNIVERSARY SALE

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1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10


SHOP THE COLLAGE


MY TIPS FOR EASY ENTERTAINING

I get asked a lot about tips for easy, quick entertaining, so today I am here to share with you what I think makes for a successful last-minute event.  Let's be honest, very few of us have the time in our schedules to throw big huge parties every month, once a quarter...of heck, even every year.  I know that sometimes I just want to get together with my girlfriends or with some of Steve and my close couple friends and I don't want to make a huge production out of it.  I want it to be informal, calm, and relaxed-both for me and my guests.  So how do I do this?

Well first I obviously start with lounging causally by myself while drinking a glass of champagne.  Ha, ha, just kidding.  In fact, what I really did to get the pool house ready for my small birthday get together I threw for some close girlfriends was to have Steve help me lug these chair down from the back patio to the pool.  We got these chairs in the beginning of summer and I am TOTALLY obsessed.  They are the club chair and ottoman from Summer Classic's Rustic Collection.  I had them covered in the same fabric that I have all of my accent pillows done in- Cordial Classics.  These chairs are the perfect lounging chairs.  They are so deep and the cushions are so comfortable...and they actually stay in place when you are sitting in them.  It is my pet peeve to have cushions that slide forward as you sit.  Before it got so hot here in Nashville, I spent a lot of mornings sitting in them while I worked outside.  I have a feeling I will be parking it in these all fall and spring.


THE DETAILS


Back to the subject at hand, when I am putting a simple evening together I really do try to keep it casual, but pulled together.   I think a couple of very small, simple details go a long way in making an event feel special and well-thought out without taking a ton of time.  My first word of advice is get some cute plates and napkins.  If you can only do one detail, this is the one that I always to.  Pick a color or two and get coordinating plates and decorative napkins.  I also like to grab a couple of bunches of grocery store flowers and put them in simple glass vases.  I like to stick to one type of bloom that has a big impact.  My go-to is typically hydrangeas because it only takes a grouping of a few stems to make an expensive looking bouquet.


THE FOOD


Here is a little known fact about me.  I would choose to eat appetizers as my main meal over a full entree any day of the week.  Because of that I love serving these types of dishes when I do impromptu get togethers at my house.  I typically only make 2-4 dishes max and I usually pick a little theme to help guide me in my food selection.  I could go with Mexican and do chips and salsa, guacamole, and a simple dip.  If I am in the mood for a little taste of France, I LOVE LOVE LOVE to do a cheese board as my main item to serve.  Cheese boards are one of my number one favorite items to eatand I must say I have gotten pretty good at them over the years.  In fact, I got asked so many questions after seeing my cheese board last week that I am going to do a whole post later this month on constructing a cheese board.

See, just look at how lovingly I am gazing at that cheese board.  I told you that I loved them!

That actually leads me to another tip.  Have a signature dish.  As I said, for me it is a cheese board.  My friends all know that when they are coming over for drinks and appetizers they are most likely going to find a cheese board waiting there for them.  For you it might be a homemade spinach dip.  Just find that one recipe that you know you are really good at and that your guests always request and stick with that bad boy as one of your base recipes when you are setting your menu. 

My next tip is to splurge on a statement piece.  For this event it was this gorgeous cake from Copper Whisk.  I rarely have the time, desire or ability to bake a really spectacular desert so I am always game for outsourcing that job to someone who does and let me tell you Lizzie certainly knows how to do it.  That is another one of my very important tips.  Don't be afraid to outsource, whether that is to a bakery or the grocery store.  I promise nobody cares.  My absolute favorite guacamole in the world is not made in my kitchen, but rather found in the hallowed halls of Whole Foods.  There is no shame in the store bought game.  So quit stressing out and serve your guest the hummus you got in the refrigerated section.  Scoop it into a pretty bowl, put out some pita chips and call it a day.


REMEMBER THE REASON


It hurts my heart to think that women are not opening up their homes because they are so stressed about it being perfect and Pinterest worthy that they just don't have people over.  Here is my most important tip to you.  Remember why your friends are there.  They have come to see you, spend time with each other and most importantly have fun.  Very rarely do people remember what you served them or whether you had flowers or not or even if you had matching plates or just used paper towels.  What they remember is the time they all spent together, the stories told, and the memories made.  Don't get so caught up in the details that the planning takes all the fun out of the event...or worse yet causes you to never have the event in the first place.  No one wants a hassled, stressed hostess.  So relax, pop that bottle of rose, and spend time with your guests.  That is the whole reason you had them over in the first place.  Cheers!


Thank you to Summer Classics for sponsoring this post.  As always, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.  Thank you for supporting the brands that make Living with Landyn possible.

GIFT REGISTRY WITH WEST ELM

It may have been over 15 years since I created my wedding registry, but I like to think that in that time I have had the ability to reflect and learn about what all you need to start a home and what you can probably leave on the shelves at store.  That is why I was so excited when west elm reached out to me help them promote the re-launch of their wedding registry program.  Why did they not have this 15 years ago???  WAHHH!  west elm is one of my absolute favorite stores for home accessories and home goods. Today I am going to share with you the three things I think you need to keep in mind when creating a successful wedding registry. 

This post was also a fun treat for me because I got to collaborate with my sweet friend and fellow blogger, Hunter, who is getting married in September.  Hunter is my dear friend Melissa, from Parlour 3's daughter, and I have so enjoyed getting to know her over the past few years.  If you have not been to her blog and IG account then you better scoot over there as soon as you are done here.  She is definitely a must follow!  She is so beautiful, both inside and out, and has the most gorgeous boho style like her outfit here, and her imagery is so dreamy.  Anyways, I missed her wedding shower, so I arranged to meet up with her at one of our favorites, Caviar and Bananas, for a little brunch and gift exchange. 

Now, on to those tips that I promised you guys. 


THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU REALLY USE


One of the things that has really changed in the 15 years since I got married, was the philosophy that you had to "copy your mom's registry".  What I mean by that is that you had to register for certain things that your mom put on her registry, regardless of whether you will ever use them or not.  I am talking about things like china, crystal, and silver.  While I do tend to use these things on special occasions, many people I know have never even taken their china out of the box it came in.  It is silly to register for something that you aren't going to use just because you think it is something you should be registering for.  I say pick a really beautiful everyday dinner set like this one and then you can mix and match fancier pieces with it.  One of the great things about registering at west elm is that you can register for both your housewares and home accessories, in addition to larger pieces that you will need to create your first home together.  Go ahead and add that sofa you have been dying for or a new headboard for your master bedroom.  You get a 15% off registry completion discount on any items off your registry, plus anything else you might want to add, so you can save up your gift cards and then get a good deal on that large piece you really wanted.


TIMELESS IS BEST


I know that one day you guys are just going to quit listening to me because I say this so much, but stick with simple, classic pieces for your main items.  Go for a timeless set of dishes, solid color bath towels and bed linens, and simple glasses.  Then you can add in fun accent pieces that bring life to the space.  Just because you like zebra stripes and polka dots right now, it doesn't mean you are going to like zebra stripes and polka dots in 10, 15, or 20 years.  And yes, that sounds crazy that you will be using some of these things still in 10, 15, or 20 years, but I promise you will.  So stick with solid colors and classic lines because in 20 years, you will love that just as much as you do right now.  Then add in a polka dotted serving bowl, a statement set of flatware, and a beautiful pillow for your bed that will make you smile whenever you see.  If you are having trouble picking out items for your space, determining what you style, or merging your style with your future hubby's then you totally need to book an appointment it one of west elm's in-store designers.  They will be able to guide you through all the decisions you need to make when turning your home together into something you both love.  Best of all, the services are totally free.


DON'T GO SCANNER GUN CRAZY


I promise this is a real thing.  I remember getting handed that magic little scanner when I was registering and immediately feeling the desire to scan everything in site.  You will have to fight the urge to add every little thing you see to your registry.  Don't do it!  This ties in to my first tip that I shared with you guys.  It can be overwhelming, exciting, empowering, basically all the things to get to go in to register for your wedding.  Try to sit down with your fiance and really talk about what you need and what pieces are most important to you.  If you aren't sure where to start, then check out this list and use it as a guide for building out your own list of registry must-haves.  Do your research before you head in to the store so you have a game plan in mind and don't go crazy when they hand that scanning device over to you.  I promise, while you think you might need 4 different sets of salt shakers now, when you are trying to unpack everything and get organized after your wedding, your married self will be mad at your registry maniac self.  Trust me on this one!


No one asked me to do this, but I thought that it might be fun to put together my dream registry from west elm with all the pieces I would add if I was getting married today.  Since they didn't have a registry program when I got married, this is basically the next best thing.  P.S. It was super hard to follow my own advice and not add every single thing I saw on the site to my imaginary registry.  Hopefully if you or someone you know if getting married this will help them pick out some great pieces to add to their west elm registry.


OUTFIT DETAILS


Thank you to west elm for sponsoring this post.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.  A big thank you to all of your who support the brands that help make Living with Landyn possible.

POOLHOUSE TOUR

Pots- Flower Mart Nashville

Eeeeeek! I am so excited for today's post.  It has been almost two years since we completed our pool and pool house construction.  I have been asked so many times for a full tour of the pool house and today is the day.  This bad boy is going to be a long one because there are a lot of pictures and I want to try and share/source as much information as I can about the details of the space.  We love it and live in this area from basically May through October.  It was such a labor of love and I had the best time designing it and picking out all the fixtures, finishes and furnishings.


WHO BUILT IT


We worked with a really amazing team of architects, builders, and landscape designers to bring this project to life, and although it will probably only help local Nashville people, I wanted to share the team that we worked with.  This project was not without difficulties, like any project but... Brian Smallwood and Kyle Mckiness, of Smallwood Nickle, were the architects who designed the pool house.  We loved working with this firm so much, that they are also doing my closet design.  The area of town we live in is a historic area and working through zoning ordinances and the council can sometimes be a challenge and they were fabulous at handling that.  Michael Cronin Acoustic Construction was the builder who handled build out of the pool house and Waterscapes Backyard Resorts did the pool. Rock Creek Landscaping handle all of the landscape design and installation.  Again, if you are looking to build, remodel or do a pool in your backyard, I can not recommend these guys enough.  All great to work with.


THE POOL HOUSE


Is it bad to be completely in love with an inanimate object, because if loving this pool house is wrong, I don't want to be right.  I love, love this space and am so proud of how it all turned out.  There are just so many unique elements and pieces that make it totally special to me.  The wood on the bar and the shelves came off a snow drift fence in Wyoming. No stain or anything, just its natural weathering. We debated a lot about whether to air condition this space and ultimately decided not to.  Because of this we knew that air movement was going to be very important in keeping this space cool and usable throughout the hot Nashville summers.  Enter Big Ass Fans, yes that is really the company's name.  We selected their Essence Fan and can not say enough good things about it.  It does a great job cooling such a big space and we are able to comfortably use the pool house even on the hottest summer days.  The gold chandelier over the seating area is from Arteriors, but unfortunately I can't find it on their website anymore and the rug is the Dash + Albert Crystal Indoor/Outdoor Rug in Black

Entertaining was one of the main purposes of this space, so we wanted to make sure we had plenty of eating and seating space.  Almost all the furniture in this space is actually Summer Classics and we love all of it!  It is such high quality and both the fabric and furniture hold up really well.  The sofa is from their Rustic Collection and the color is Oyster.  The throw pillows are from CB2.  Unfortunately they don't sell these exact ones before but they always have an amazing selection of black and white pillows.

We wanted to ability to feed a lot of people out here so we went with long farm-style table from Restoration Hardware that comfortably seats 14.  Since the table was a splurge, I wanted to pick a relatively inexpensive chair that could handle wet bathing suit bottoms sitting on it.  I went with the Bistro Chairs from World Market.  One of the coolest pieces in this space are the lights that hang above the dining table.  They are actually jet thrusters that were salvaged off a plane in Vietnam and then rewired to be pendant lights.  I got them here locally at Garden Parks Antiques and they are definitely a statement piece and conversation starter.  The cool Nashville sign is from Weird Stuff Cool Things here in Nashville and I love it.  It is a functioning light and it looks so neat all lit up.

Steve is a big time cook and we kitted the outdoor kitchen to his eat specifications.  We have a grill and built in Big Green Egg in the kitchen, as well as a deep fryer and a gas burner all from BBQ Brothers. I can't say enough about GREAT they were to order from and their prices were the best I found. We wanted convenience so we included beverage fridges and a dishwasher out here too.  I highly recommend if you are building an outdoor kitchen space to consider adding a dishwasher if at all possible.  We also have a kegerator that has two taps so we can always have Steve's favorite beer's on tap. Bell's Two Hearted Ale :) 


THE BATHROOM


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We added a pool bath to the pool house because ain't nobody got time for their to be wet dripping feet and bathing suits running through my house.  The counter is my absolute favorite piece in the room.  It was handbuilt with wood from Woodstock Vintage Lumber that has been salvaged from three different buildings.  To match the rustic look of the countertop we went with pipe fittings for the vanity legs and towel bar and the fixtures and sink are from Ferguson Plumbing Supply.

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THE POOL FURNITURE


I get asked frequently about the furniture that we have in and around the pool house.  As I mentioned above, all of the outdoor furniture is from Summer Classics.  Our lounge chairs (and sand chairs that aren't pictured here but will be in next weeks post) are from their Skye Collection and are in the color oyster, just like the sectional sofa in the pool house.  We opted to do them without cushions, but you can add a cushion to the lounger if you want to.  We used the fabric Cordial Classics, the black and white stripe, as the accent fabric for all of the pillows.  I have been really pleased with the way the fabric has held up.  As you know, I am not always nice to my outdoor pillows and cushions and don't bring them inside in the winter.  I know, I know.  However, this fabric has held up beautifully and I just clean it with Scott's Outdoor Fabric Cleaner and the mildew and dirt comes right off.  Good as new!

We also have 2 outdoor eating areas, and some high topped tables that we can move around when and where we need them.  The table and chairs are from Summer Classics.  The chairs are from their Westport Collection and the table is from their Oxford Collection.  I added that string of lights, that I think I got at Costco, to help define the seating area and provide some soft lighting when people are eating out there at night.


THE POOL


This last part is going to be VERY boring unless you are planning on building a pool; however, I get asked about the materials we used and the specifics of our pool all the time, so I will share them here.  As I mentioned, Waterscapes Backyard Resorts built the pool and they were sweet enough to send over all the specs from our pool, because lord knows after 2 years I can't remember them.  So our pool is 18'x38' and it was an 8'x10' spa.  We went with a tanning ledge in the pool and I can not recommend it enough.  It is one of my favorite features of the pool.  The decking around the pool with Silver Travatine and we have Limestone Coping.  The interior of the pool is Mediterranean Blue Hydrazzo Plaster.  The waterline tile in the pool is from Sonoma Tile Makers.  It is the Vihara Ehex Mink in Silk.


Well, that's a wrap.  Hope you enjoyed the tour of the pool and pool house and answered all your questions.  Let me know if there is anything I missed.

Xx,

Landyn

DRESSING FOR SUMMER OUTDOOR PARTIES

 

One of the things I love the most about Nashville is the group of amazing girlfriends I have had the privilege of having in my life since moving here.  I wanted to take all of them with me to Cabo, and all of you guys too, but that wasn't possible.  Since I couldn't do that, I wanted to plan a little special something to celebrate a belated 40th birthday. 

These women mean the world to me and I wanted them to know how much I appreciate them and the role they play in my life.  I am certainly a richer, better person thanks to all of them and to all of you.  I also wanted to take this opportunity to thank you guys from the bottom of my heart for all the sweet birthday messages and support you guys have given me. 

To say that words don't even describe how appreciative I am, is the understatement of the year.  Thank you for being my friends, thank you for loving and supporting me even though you don't know me in real life, and thank you for following along with me on the crazy adventure.

I am going to share all the in's and out's of my little get together and my tips for easy outdoor entertaining in the summer next week, but today I wanted to share some ideas for what to wear when going to an outdoor event in the summer time.  I have put together three different outfits for three different types of summer time occasions that you might be going to.  I really wanted to think outside of the box on some of the outfits you would typically think to wear to these common events.  It's summer time ladies; let's have a little fun with our outfits! I have also sourced lot of fun items so you can build your own summer outfit for your next outdoor event. 


WHAT TO WEAR



BRING ON A BBQ


The key to a summer BBQ is a casual look that is effortless but not sloppy.  I love the thought of a romper at a backyard BBQ because it is unexpected and different than your typical sundress or shorts and t-shirt.  I absolutely love this gray romper because it looks like you could still be comfortable chasing after your kids...and it is only $48!  Pair it with a cute flat sandal and some easy jewelry and you are good to go.   I source some of my favorites rompers, along with some dressier options if you get the luxury of going to a kid's free BBQ.

what to wear to a summer bbq


ROOF TOP COCKTAILS


As you saw in my post earlier this month, I am a huge fan of a rooftop cocktail.  I don't know what makes a drink on a rooftop bar so much more fun, but it is one of my favorite ways to do cocktails in the summer (that is when it is not pouring rain or burning hot).  Another thing you might have noticed, is that I am totally in to the two-piece trend this summer.  In fact, I am wearing one of my favorite summer two-pieces in the roof-top bar post.  And I wore a two- piece outfit to my 40th birthday party in Mexico.  I know,  you are all freaking out.  I totally get it.  The two-piece trend is not for everyone, but remember I am pushing you out of your comfort zone and we are thinking outside the box.


SAY I DO


How many of you guys have summer weddings on the calendar this year?  We are almost out of the wedding stage with all of our friends, unless they are second marriages.  However, my sweet friend Hunter, Melissa from Parlour 3's daughter, is getting married in September so we do have one to go to.  In fact, I have a fun post coming up next week with Hunter about gifting for weddings.  Stay tuned for that.  I am on the look out for a wedding outfit and I am LOVING the idea of a jumpsuit for a wedding (remember my Banana Republic post?).  Again, I am loving that it is something unexpected, still really sexy, and super comfortable for getting down on the dance floor.  This jumpsuit is everything.  I am obsessed with the t-strap back.

what to wear to a summer wedding

CAST IRON LEMON CHICKEN

If you're a LEMON LOVER like me, than this dish is for you. Even if your not, you must give this easy one pot meal a try this summer. Most of my recipes are off the cuff. Often times when I have too much of one item. And on this particular day it was lemons. Lot's of lemons, and I happened to be drinking wine too. So here it is and it was DELICIOUS. My daughter licked her bowl clean and my son asked to have it again, and he's a picky eater. So when Luke says it's good....it's DAMN GOOD! 


WHAT YOU'LL NEED


  • 2 packs chicken thighs, skin on + bone in 
  • juice of 5 lemons
  • 3/4 cup white wine 
  • pinch of fresh parsley or dehydrated 
  • garlic paste, in the squeeze tube or 4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • olive oil
  • salt + pepper to taste 

WHAT TO DO


  1. Rinse and pat dry chicken thighs. Leave skin on. 
  2. Sprinkle with salt + pepper.
  3. Heat your cast iron skillet to med/ high heat. 
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of oil of your choice.
  5. Once oil is hot, place chicken thighs, skin side down and brown for 2-3 mins.
  6. Turn off the heat.
  7. Remove chicken from cast iron pan and set aside. 
  8. In a mixing bowl, squeeze the juice of 5 lemons. Add wine, garlic and parsley. Whisk together. 
  9. Place chicken back in cast iron, pour lemon + wine mixture all over the top. Nestle already squeezed lemon halves in between chicken for color and flavor. 
  10. Put cast iron skillet into a 375 degree oven and cook uncovered for 25 minutes or until internal temp reaches 165 degrees. 

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