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Dear Mushka,

Which Jewelry To Pack For Travelling

Let’s talk about travelling with jewelry and my go-to pieces for when I go on trips! I just got back from a vacation at the beach and I find that I enjoy travelling really simply - especially when I’m travelling with my three boys and going to the beach.

One necklace.
One or two pairs of earrings.
One bracelet.
Done.

Here are the Dear Mushka pieces I chose to travel with for this family vacation to Florida:

A Simply Necklace

The Essential Necklace is a great, everyday piece. This necklace goes with everything and even when you’re just wearing a plain tee it adds the perfect amount of pop and sparkle. It looks cute with a dress, bathing suit, tee, date night dress-up, whatever!

The reason I chose this specific piece for this trip is that is reflects Micah 6:8 and I find it essential for everyday life. We can cling to Jesus’ ability to do things perfectly and we can pray for help to do likewise.

This verse and necklace reminds me when I’m away to do justice, practice love and kindness, and to walk humbly.

Everyday Earrings

The Goodness Earrings are earrings I turn to a lot of the time when I’m travelling because they are so easy. I often forget that they are even in and they do with absolutely everything. You don’t even need to worry about packing another pair to be honest!

It comes paired with Ephesians 2:10 and it serves as a reminder that even while on vacation, we must continue to live as Christians. There are people who need Jesus’ love and care no matter where you are going. I talked to so many people on the beach this year and praying this verse every morning made such a difference in my heart.

Fun Earrings

Earrings with a little bit of dangle and fun can be great to bring on vacation for when you want to dress things up a little. The Storm Earrings and The Poise Earrings are great options!

The Storm Earrings are lightweight with no earring back to mess with, they just slip on and are so easy. They look beautiful with a simple tee and can be really casual but also transition to a fancier outfit with ease.

I think bringing on simple pair of studs on your trips and one pair of hanging earrings works so well for every occasion. These have been in our shop for YEARS and you all love them as much as I do - if you haven’t purchased a pair yet, you’ll for sure want to add them to your next order👏

I though about this reflective verse so much in Florida as it often rained on the beach while we were there.

Let us press on to know the Lord, He will come to us as sure as the showers!

It rains for at least a few minutes every year at the beach. I can rely on that! And the Lord is even more reliable.

Bracelets!

The last item I bring along is a bracelet or two. It’s always a toss between the Carried Bracelet and the Parallel for my most worn. The are both brass and strong and durable.

I love the way they look with the Companion Bracelet - I love the white but they come in six other colors. They also give a great vacation look!

Packing Your Jewelry

I also wanted to share that our packaging for all of our jewellery pieces is intentional. They each come with their verse cards and the chains are attached in a smaller bag with washi tape.

You can easily reuse the washiest tape to attach your verse card to a wall or mirror or your computer so you can see it at all times. The small bag is perfect for traveling with your jewelry!

You also get a larger size cloth bag that comes packaged with your order that you can toss all your jewelry in to keep it in one sage spot while traveling.

And that’s how I travel with jewelry so that it doesn't become more important than my people and I get to take the Gospel with me while I’m away from home.

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Our Family Trip to 30A

I've been vacationing to Florida basically every year since I was little. My family used to do Destin or Panama City, and now we go with Robert's family to the "30A" strip of beaches that runs in between those two big cities.

It's such a fun area- packed with good places to eat, bike paths for traveling the few miles between beach after beach, and lots of memories. 

The boys (ages 4, 2, 3 months) did so well in the car! We left early in the morning when we knew our youngest would be most apt to take a good nap. For the other two, I packed them each a "car bag" with a few car activities and snacks. We also checked out library books that they weren't allowed to look at until we were traveling. (The bags also had a change of clothes inside because #reallife). After they enjoyed the car activities for a few hours, they were allowed to watch a movie on the iPad.

A few things in their bags: 

This, this, this (non messy creativity), and this

Our condo room (here!) wasn't ready when we got there so we spent a few hours at The Hub. It's a really cool area, with lots of walk-up places to grab food, comfy seating, shopping, and most importantly astroturf for wiggly kids to run around on. We got lunch, ice cream, and lots of energy out! 

Everyday, we ate breakfast and hung out in the condo for a few hours while our littlest guy took a morning nap. Then we headed to the beach for a few hours, where we spent the majority of the time in the ocean... and eating snacks/lunch. Around 1, we'd come inside for naps/ quiet time. Robert got a few hours of work in and I enjoyed reading (and napping, too!) Then, more beach time until the boys were absolutely ready for bed. 6:30pm on the beach is the best time, we didn't want to miss it! 

I packed the boys' lunches and dinners in these boxes to make mealtimes easy. I didn't cook dinner once- they loved eating sandwiches, fruit, and goldfish on the beach every day. 

Robert and I went out twice (below) and otherwise ate simple foods, too. It was really nice to take a cooking break for a week :)

We were there over the 4th of July, which is fun. Almost every beach from Destin to Panama City has their own firework show so you can sit on the beach (or condo patio) and watch them all go off. Individuals do their own shows on the beach, too! 

On my birthday, Robert and I went on a date to la Crema- it's an excellent tapas and chocolates restaurant in Rosemary Beach. I'm already excited to go back next year ha! Another night, we went out with family to George's. It gets really crowded, especially towards the end of the week, so plan to go early! 



On the last night, we played in the ocean until everyone was completely prune-y and ate pizza on the beach. 

It was such a special week, and proof that you can travel (albeit, just a few states away) with three little children. Of course, we were all exhausted at the end but memories were made and we loved being together for a solid week!

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Welcome Cru! + Adoption Tips

Our third son, Cru, was born last week and we are thrilled to have him in our arms.

You can read about our past adoption experiences in these blog posts. For this third adoption, we used Faithful Adoption Consultants again. I highly recommend them or a similar route if speed is a priority to you. We went active around Valentines Day, were matched five weeks later, and held our son two weeks after that!  

You can also follow my personal IG account along here

Many of you have asked for adoption tips beyond choosing an agency so here are a few things this three-time-adoptive-mother would recommend as you prepare to bring your little one home. 

1. Rent an Airbnb as you wait out ICPC. A hotel gets old fast. If you can find a place with a kitchen, living room, and bedroom you'll be able to spread out, avoid eating out so much, and feel more like you're at home while you await the clear to head back to your home state. Ours was just $10 more a night... very worth it.  

2. Pack those little things babies need when they come home from the hospital. A baby thermometer, vaseline for post-circumcision, a nail file perhaps? Of course, a Target or Wal-Mart is probably close by, but if you don't have to buy a duplicate, why do it? 

3. While you're at it, pack a variety of clothing sizes for your little one.  Because my other two boys wore them for multiple weeks, I only brought newborn clothes and as it turns out.. baby number came out too big for them! I had plenty of the next size up at home and kicked myself for not bringing a few of them. Lesson learned! 

4. Bring comfortable, realistic clothes for yourself. This is not the time to look fancy and dolled-up. You might not have delivered a baby, but your emotions have gone through the ringer. Lay low, enjoy being cozy (and make-up free!) while you're away from the company of your friends and family. 

5. Take advantage of the time you have in a different city. Travel all around the state you're in-- for our second son we visited the Red Rocks in Arizona and for number three we planned to go to Waco (hello, Joanna) until we got the clear to come home earlier than expected. 

6. Likewise, enjoy parenting with just your spouse and new child. Did you leave other children at home? Soak up being a parent to just one newborn-- what a unique bonding experience! Go out to eat with your husband before your child gets too old to do so, snuggle up on the bed and watch a movie in between feedings, go for walks, do a little reading!

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HOW WE SPENT THREE DAYS IN NYC

New York City is one of my very favorite places in the whole world. I love how much of our country's history is wrapped up in it and how diverse it still is today. I'm always thrilled at how many other languages you can hear as you walk down the street or ride the subway, & could people (and building!) watch the streets all day long. 

I've been many times, but this was Robert's 1st real trip so we combined sight-seeing with leisurely walks. And lots of food!

Warning-- Long post ahead. But I know so many of you have trips planned, I wanted to give you a look at our weekend! 

Day 1

Our flight got in around 9 am Friday morning so we took a taxi from Newark to the city, checked into the hotel, and then headed to Sarahbeth's right by Central Park for brunch. I'd made a noon reservation but they were able to get us in earlier, and we got a seat right by the window. People watching + the lemon ricotta pancakes was the best way to start the trip.  

We were meeting friends in the city (so fun!) so while they checked in and ate, we wandered Central Park. There were kids on a zoo field trip, moms setting up for child's b-day party, and people already ice skating in the park. I kept saying how beautiful it was and Robert kept laughing and reminding me that our home is on multiple acres, we literally live in a park. Ha! 

We found a Strands Bookstore kiosk station right outside the park so we went on and picked up a few souvenir books (hi, this is my kind of party) and then walked up 5th Avenue. It's one of the most luxurious streets in the world and kind of fun to see so many fancy stores in a row. We grabbed a cookie at Milk Bar and then met up with our friends. 

It was supposed to rain the whole next day so we decided to cram as much as we could into our Friday. We took the Subway to Chelsea and walked the Chelsea Market, High Line, and along the Hudson River. Walking past all the piers was fun, especially seeing how many kids were playing on the playgrounds, in the skateparks, and in the fenced in soccer/basketball areas. There really is a lot of green/play space tucked inside the city. 

We made our way to The World Trade Center site. I'd done the museum before, but never seen the completed Freedom Tower; it's now the tallest building in the city and is just beautiful. The whole area feels sacred and I especially loved the signs around it I hadn't noticed before-- like the one posted on the elementary school nearby, recognizing the students who witnessed the attack firsthand. 

After that, we headed to Wall Street. Did you know it used to literally have a wall on it, blocking Native Americans? This area isn't particularly fun for me, but it's fascinating to walk the different neighborhoods; you can feel the atmosphere change as you go from one kind of people group to the next. 

Next, we found some fresh juice and then headed to the Brooklyn Bridge. I'd heard it gets pretty busy on the weekend and it was, but it was still enjoyable. People used to put "love locks" on the bridge, which is now illegal, but we found a few sneaky ones. 

By this point, we were starving and cold so we made our way to Grimaldi's Pizza on the Brooklyn side. No single slices, cash only, and it was so good. It puts Nashville pizza to shame. We also passed by the Etsy headquarters, which was extra fun for me since Dear Mushka got its start on Etsy! 

We took a subway back to Rockefeller Center, watched the people ice skate for a few minutes, saw all the TV studios around, and then walked through Times Square to grab a slice of Juniors cheesecake. We took it back to our hotel rooms, ate in bed, and fell asleep immediately. Long day! 

Day 2

It rained all day Saturday so we did our best to stay inside. We planned to eat at a fancy little breakfast place but after walking for a few minutes in the strong winds, decided to jut inside a nearby diner and called it good. And of course, it was, because basically anywhere you eat in the city is good. I think it was called 9ten and Robert's pancakes were some of the best I've ever eaten. 

Then we took a taxi to the MOMA along with every other tourist trying to make the most of their rainy day. Ha! I'd been before when very few people were inside and it was a sweet & enjoyable experience. So many people made it pretty chaotic, but seeing van Goghs and Monets and Picassos up close is special no matter what. 

We popped into Saint Philip's Church (it's gorgeous inside) and then we headed to the main NYC Library located at Bryant Park. I ventured down to the children's area by myself and loved watching all the families there on their rainy Saturday. I curled up in a corner to read a chapter of Harry Potter and admired the original stuffed animals the Winnie the Pooh characters were based on.

We were hungry by that point and decided to try Eataly. It's a giant space near the Flatiron Building that has 6 restaurants + an Italian market inside. We got fresh pasta (amazing!!) and listened to all the Italian conversations going on around us. And of course, a cannoli/ gelato for dessert. Next time, weather permitting, I'd love to grab something from one of the market stands and eat it in Washington Square Park. 

We walked over to Fishs Eddy, a quirky homegoods store, grabbed a warm drink, and then headed back to our hotel. Our friends had dinner & show reservations but Robert doesn't love the theater so we took a power nap and then went out for dinner. I'd heard about The Burger Joint, this random little burger spot located in The Parker Hotel behind a secret curtain, so we went there. The food wasn't amazing, but the experience was hilarious and we were both glad we did it. 

The rain stopped briefly so we walked back through Times Square, listened to some singer performing (the teenagers were going crazy, it made me feel old haha), shopped a little, and then jumped back in bed to snuggle up with a movie. The day wasn't at all what I'd planned, but we did the best we could do with the rain and enjoyed being together. 

Day 3

We woke up to sun (yay!) so we ditched our plans of seeing Tim Keller's church and instead headed to the west side for breakfast at Jacob's Pickles. It's a southern place so we wanted to compare it to Nashville food-- they did a good job! The portions were huge and the atmosphere was super sweet. We got there right after it opened at 9 and didn't have a wait, but the line was really long when we left. 

Then we just walked up and down the streets. They're more residential here and every bit of it is completely charming. Big trees, incredible detailing on the buildings, little gardens outside wherever they can make them fit, playgrounds, cute little stores tucked away. Lots of people walking to church! I could have done this forever. 

We got a Levain Cookies to go, perused the cutest little bookstore, walked a giant Anthropologie, and then hopped on the Subway to head south. We ate a quick lunch at a diner, laughing at how literally everyone decorates for Halloween, and then headed to The Tenement Museum for our tour. 

I absolutely love New York History (this book sealed the deal) and have wanted to do a Tenement Museum tour for years. It was incredible to walk through an actual apartment building made to look exactly as it would have various years ago, and to imagine the immigrants that made their way through. It was eye-opening, and even Robert (who was a good sport but not excited to go) had a lot to say when it was over. A trip highlight for both of us, I think. 

After that, we walked around Washington Square Park (my favorite!), watched some hilarious street performers, wandered through the NYU buildings, accidentally interrupted a commercial being filmed, and then walked over to the Greenwich Village area to find the Friends apartment building. We've watched the series so many times and couldn't resist heading there together. When we were close I said "I think it's around here somewhere..." and Robert was like "...it's probably that corner where the mob of people is staring up" ha. A few people around clearly didn't understand the significance of the spot and kept looking up with the group to see if they could see the apparently cool thing happening. It was pretty funny. 

Our trip was almost over so we headed back up towards our hotel and met up with an Instagram friend (Teresa). It was so exciting getting to hug each other in real life, we felt like we were catching up with an old friend. I also loved getting to peek inside her tiny & adorable apartment. It'll inspire a home purge, that's for sure ;)  

Then our car picked us up and we headed back to the airport (where we waited for hours in security. Three cheers for Robert who had us get there extra early! I would have missed our flight...) and got home right before midnight. 

It was a packed three days, and just what my heart needed. Until next time, New York. xx

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