A Weekend in Marco Island!

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Last weekend, Stevie and I took a little trip down to Marco Island, Florida! We wanted to celebrate our 12-year wedding anniversary (I can’t believe it’s been that long!) and also get a little babymoon in before this little one arrives in a few months. 5 months is always a sweet time to travel because it’s not too uncomfortable yet, so we planned a fast 2-night getaway so we could connect, read, eat and talk without our other two cuties pulling on our time.


We had never been to Marco Island. We had heard about it and had some flight points, so we picked the Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and just went for it. The resort is gorgeously situated on the water, has a seriously delicious buffet breakfast and a killer amazing spa. We weren’t expecting the food on the island to be so legendary, but it is basically all Italian and all INCREDIBLE. I’m not usually one for pasta and pizza on the beach because, I don’t know, I don’t want to feel carb-loaded when I’m in a bathing suit, but being pregnant has it’s perks. I’m always bloated! So we ate like we were in Italy! And it was magnificent. Really and truly.

If you’re visiting, we ate a fancy, celebratory meal at Sale e Pepe (incredible fresh pasta and fish!) which was a quick walk from our hotel and has the most beautiful views of the ocean. The pizza and salad at DaVinci almost made us cry and of course we had to indulge in gelato at Dolce Mare where they also home make chocolate truffles. Get the caramel sea salt. More incredible pizza at Joeys and we also loved brunch in Naples at The Cafe on 5th where they had the best juices and crepes ahhhh. I’m drooling just typing all this.

We took lots of pictures, and these are all from my iPhone!

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^ The view from our hotel! So lush and tropical.

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^My 5 month baby bumps vs. Stevie’s (below)

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A lot of the buildings lining the beach were actually condos and not hotels. This is a place for snow birds and we were actually visiting in the off-season! It was truly tropical weather. Like HOT and humid. Most of the snow birds hang out down there Jan.-May.

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Old Navy Suit (sold out in yellow, still in stock in black top and bottom)

^One morning we decided to split up and do whatever we wanted! I crave alone time SO much and Stevie always wants to play golf, so that’s what we did! I ate breakfast alone (SUCH a luxury), laid on the beach and read, and then went to the spa for a pedicure. It was seriously the most indulgent morning I’ve had in years.

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^My tan is so fake you guys. I normally don’t lay out in the sun but since I was only out for about an hour on this particular morning I went for it and ended up spending most of that time in the ocean because it was just SO hot. But I really love getting an organic spray tan at RAW Bronzing Studio and that’s how I look and feel tan without actually baking for hours in the sun ;)

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^Just having a mermaid moment

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JCrew suit (past season, similar here) Target Hat, Target Sunglasses

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Target Dress, Target Sandals

^It was so dark by the time we went to our dinner at Sale E Pepe, but it really is worth visiting! It’s styled like an Italian art museum, with frescos painted on the walls and arched walkways and fountains. It’s really special.

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^That dinner view. I meannnnn.

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^It was so tropical! I couldn’t get over the bird songs and the lush flowers and exotic plants.

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^Downtown Naples! We didn’t get to spend a lot of time here, but we want to plan another trip to explore more because it was SO stunning. I mean, look at this pink building! Is this real life?!

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^Pistachio and Hazelnut gelato. Glory be.

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ASOS dress (sold out, similar here), Target Sandals

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This trip was truly a dream. We ate SO well, we read on the beach, we even went to the spa together and got massages one morning! Stevie hadn’t had a massage in 10 years, so you could say he was due for a de-stressing morning. He was so funny when he came out of the massage room - we met up in the little spa garden and drank cucumber water and he was like, “I CAN’T BELIEVE HOW GOOD THAT WAS.

I don’t feel bad about getting some pampering before entering into another season of sleepless nights and busy baby days. Feeling very grateful for the time we got together, to dream and talk and laugh and wonder about what the future of our family will be like with 3 kids! I am so so grateful to my parents for taking over and watching the big boys while we got away. This was an extra special trip, just getting Stevie all to myself for a few days of fun and relaxation. Hurray for beaches and babies!

Naples. The Best Pizza. On Earth.


Naples could be described as the seedy underbelly of Italy's tourism gelato cake. People don't go to Naples to tour around and see museums. Naples isn't “on the map” for American tourists, who only want to see the sparkly and romantic Italy. Naples is chaotic, sweaty, dodgy and dirty. Naples is loud. Naples is grimy. Naples is exciting and infuriating. Somehow even endearing. But more than anything, Naples is home to the world's greatest pizza.

Named for the Queen Margherita, the first pizza of the world was, you guessed it, the Margherita pizza. Even the Italian flag commemorates its greatest culinary discovery: the red represents the homemade tomato sauce, the white represents the bufala mozzarella cheese and the green represents the fresh basil.

“Put on your fight face, Hale,” I warned, as my husband and I walked purposefully toward our unknown, yet highly anticipated, destination.

We had an address, but I dared not pull out my shiny white iPhone in this dodgy neighborhood around the Naples train station, even to double check the street name. We were looking for a pizza place; apparently THE pizza place. This was supposed to be the best pizza in the world.

“You can't let people see your vulnerability. Why don't you channel Sylvester Stallon?” I barked at my annoyingly smiley spouse. He just turned and looked evenly at me. “It's just gonna be okay, Kris,” he replied.

Ugh. He's so good at keeping a level head. And I am so good at blowing heads out of proportion. But our dear Roman friend Alessandro warned us about the area around his favorite Napoli pizzeria just as enthusiastically as he recommended it, and I take safety extremely seriously. So I had on my fight face. And my sunglasses. And my most masculine gait. I was walking like a gladiator, tearing through the streets. The intense humidity, and thus my outpouring sweat, only added to my swarthy effect.

“But we look like tourists!” I hissed back at him. (For visual affect, I need you to imagine each of us lugging enormous backpacks strapped around our waists and shoulders, chunky tennis shoes, pit stains and not-very-well-concealed moneybelts. Rick Steves would be proud. Coco Chanel would not.)

It didn't matter. Twenty seconds after this intense conversational exchange, we stood beneath the holy sign that read “Da Pellone” and my faux streetwise act was long forgotten. We were here. This was like finding the holy grail. Pizza in the greatest place on Earth: Napoli.

We ordered. We waited. And then it came. The beautiful ruby, cream and emerald pie of goodness. After one last glance of long-awaited anticipation, we dove fork-first into our respective quarters of the pizza pie. And oh.

Oh. My. God.

No flurry of smartly arranged explicatives can express the rapture of this moment. No combination of clever adjectives. No sound bites, photographs or video footage could ever commemorate this incredible encounter. Nothing. It's all in my head, in my taste memory, and that is where it shall remain. The pizza was to die for. I will forever long for it. I will always appreciate it's expression of Heaven. I will always try to describe it, and I will woefully do it an injustice with my mere human attempt. This pizza. The sauce, the cheese, the crust... what are they DOING to the pizza in Naples?! Some say its in the water. Some say its the use of fresh ingredients. Some swear by the mozzarella, others by the tomatoes. I can't tell you what it is. I am a lowly American, raised on Digorno and Dominoes. But my palate has been fully awakened, and I can tell you with extreme red, white and blue pride that the pizza in Naples is THE BEST PIZZA IN THE WORLD.

(The photos are minimal, and here's why. I pulled out my phone to snap a quick photo for a mere second, and our mafia-esque waiter looked in my direction and I almost peed myself. So... sorry. I was a little afraid for my life in the ghetto of pizza Heaven.)