Tips for Your Last Minute Vacation

Last Minute Vacation Beach

If there’s one thing I do well and do often, it’s procrastinate. Okay, so that’s not always a desirable skill, but it’s not all bad. A few years ago I worked this trait to my advantage to score the best family vacation we’ve ever had. I had an idea in mind of where we would like to visit, a few different days my husband could quickly take off work, and the only hardline item in my plan: a strict budget. It took a lot of late-night research, but in the end I booked a resort on Thursday, and we left on Sunday. We stayed three nights in a 4-star beachfront condo for $80/night! I would have been satisfied to just sit on the beach the whole time, but our resort had an awesome water park on site, and once there, we Googled local attractions to keep it interesting.

There was no plan; just a few days of rest and pure fun.

I was hooked. Last year, with two day’s notice, I booked a 5-star historic hotel in Manhattan for $130. And this year I am watching several different Orlando resorts for our family’s vacation. Hotels are trying to make money, and empty rooms don’t make money. When they get down to the wire, they’ll sell great rooms for dirt cheap just to put bodies in the beds. For some people, waiting until the last minute can be stressful, but if you’re like me, it’s so freeing to relax and be ready to book whatever I can find.

Full disclosure: this method is not for Type A personalities that like to have all the details just so. But if you like to roll with the punches, then with a little patience and a lot of flexibility, you can score the low-cost, last-minute vacation of your dreams.

Last Minute Vacation NYC

Location, Location, Location (sort of)

When you’re deciding where to take your last minute vacation, you need to have an idea in mind of where you want to go, but leave a bit of wiggle room. For our beach vacation, I knew we wanted to go to the beach in South Carolina, but I had about a 100-mile radius I was searching. The more flexible you are on the exact location, the more specific you can be on amenities — we wanted a full kitchen, beach access in walking distance, and a kid-friendly hotel pool. If a very specific area is more important — like when we went to New York and my husband was in an orthopedic boot, so we needed a hotel very close to our activities — then you will need to be more flexible on the amenities.

Dates TBD (sort of)


To continue reading, please visit Knoxville Moms Blog, where this post originally appeared on May 19, 2018. Be sure to check out all the other great posts while you’re there!

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Peace on Earth (and in Your Home) – Navigating the Tension through the Holidays

This post originally appeared on the Knoxville Moms Blog on November 23, 2016.

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

There is nothing that brings my heart more joy than being with family. My husband and I are extremely blessed to have four wonderful children together, and the majority of our immediate family live locally or just a short drive away. While we get to enjoy family time fairly regularly, I always look forward to Thanksgiving, when we travel to visit my extended family. The holidays are that special time for many people to meet up with loved ones they rarely see and reminisce, bond, and make memories together.

Then 2016.

Guys, let’s be real. This year has been tough on everyone. The last few years have brought to light many social and political issues facing our nation, and all that building tension climaxed this year with possibly the most divisive election cycle in American history. While some people like to keep their circles small and unified in beliefs, I count myself lucky to belong to a large, diverse family holding many different opinions and convictions. The one thing that unites us — and probably how you can tell we’re related — is our passion and stubbornness when it comes to what we believe. 

While I’m pretty sure my family’s Thanksgiving celebration will not include any punches being thrown (fingers crossed, y’all!), you might not have the same confidence for your own holiday gathering. If you are one of the many people worried about facing family with whom you disagree politically this holiday season, remember these pointers to make sure your get-togethers go smoothly, and maybe one day you can even look back on this year and laugh. Or you can just survive until January; I mean whatever you gotta do, bruh.

  1. Go with a plan. And the plan is, let’s just not.

To continue reading, view the full post on the Knoxville Moms Blog. Happy holidays, and remember that family is worth not fighting for. 😉

The Un-Fit Mom: When Your Prenatal Fitness Plans Don’t Pan Out

Hey guys! I’m posting today on the Knoxville Moms Blog about a journey I have been on for the last 9 months… Really, for the last 7 1/2 years. It hasn’t always been pretty, definitely not easy, but it’s my body, so you know I’m gonna love it. Click the link at the bottom to read the full post!


A few years ago, my friend from high school posted a video on Facebook of her teaching Zumba at 9 months pregnant. It was the most incredible (and admittedly bizarre) thing to watch, and I was incredibly impressed not only with her commitment to staying fit and active, but dang she’s got moves! I remember at the time thinking, “I wish I could do that,” and I remember reflecting on it when I found out I was pregnant, thinking, “I am going to do that!”

But you know what they say about the best laid plans…

The Un-Fit Mom

Many moons ago, I was a young, first-time expectant mom with absolutely zero clue what I was doing. My vast experience in prenatal health consisted mostly of “say no to drugs” and popular TV/movie jokes about pregnant moms eating whatever they wanted. The “What to Expect” diet was so far from what I was used to eating that I blew it off and went with my gut (pun always intended): bring on the Oreos and Toaster Streudels!

Sixty-five naive pounds later, I gave birth to an extremely healthy 9 lb. 15 oz. baby girl and kept eating whatever I wanted while nursing because that’s supposed to make you skinny, right?? I was shocked and devastated that I hung on to every one of those pounds, less the actual weight of the baby. Add in 2 more kids over the next 3 years, and I was one overweight, unhappy mama.

After my 3rd child was born, I decided to stop hating my body for what it didn’t look like and start loving it for what it could do. I ate nutritious foods and swore off sweets and sodas. I hit the gym hard 5-6 days a week. Over the next 2 years, I lost nearly 75 lbs. and looked and felt better than when I was 16.

I kept up the workouts and kept off the weight through post-partum depression, a challenging year of personal/family issues, and two miscarriages. When I finally got pregnant again, I was determined to not repeat the mistakes of my past. I would eat right, drink tons of water, and work out every day. I would be… FIT MOM.

…Then reality hit.


Click here to read the full post on the Knoxville Moms Blog! Let me hear your thoughts in the comments!