Cantaloupe Blueberry Infused Water

Wow, it is NOT a cocktail recipe!  Haha ;)  Arizona is so freaking hot so we have to drink water like all the freaking time to survive.  I happen to love water, so it is not much an issue for me, but Nick is not a fan.  He knows drinking water is healthy and so he forces himself to do it, so I try to find ways to help him enjoy it more- and infused waters are very easy to make and taste so good.  You can stay hydrated and it tastes delicious!

Cantaloupe Blueberry Infused Water-
Cantaloupe Melon Balls

Add to water and refrigerate for a couple hours for best taste (longer it is left to chill, the more intense the flavor)


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Friday Link Love

I could really use a relaxing weekend... anyone else?  Print Available Here

Thank you for all your support and emails and messages from my post this week on my clinical depression.  It means so much and you all made me feel very loved xoxo.

On a brighter note, I also gave my travel tips for Rome this week!

Real life places that should be in a Wes Anderson film. Epic.

Some favorites from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale - these Laurel booties... I own them in a natural color & heart them.
Black jumpsuit (if you follow me on stories, where you actually see me, you know I loveee rompers & jumpsuits)
Sweater with a cute tie in the front!
Madewell Necklace  and these Geo Drop Earrings

Anthro is also having additional 30% off sale and this cocktail shaker is calling my name!

Happy weekend!!

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When in Rome! Travel Tips & Advice For A Rome Trip!

Nick & I went to Rome a couple weeks ago for a whirlwind trip, spending 4 days in the beautiful Italian city.  Rome was one of my Mom's favorite places on earth, so Nick & I went to remember her on the year anniversary of her death because sitting home crying and drinking did not sound conducive to a healthy life.  It was also our first trip away from the girls, so that was pretty amazing. As much as we love our little family and missed the girls the whole time, carving out time for just Nick & I is essential to our marriage and keeping our entire family happy.

I highly recommend picking up the Roma 72 hour pass (or 48 hour if your time is shorter) You get free admission to 2 sights (like the Coliseum & the Forum) but MORE importantly, you skip the terribly long lines.  The pass also includes free metro use and discounts to other museums.  We liked those advantages- but just skipping hours waiting in line was worth purchasing the pass.  We joked they should charge an American impatient tax on the pass, because we would all still buy it!

We did the audio tour of both the Coliseum & Forum.  They were just ok, the audio tour at the Coliseum was better, but I would not purchase the Forum one in hindsight.

The Pantheon is free to see and there are a ton of tour guides outside that charge about 10 euros for a tour, which totally seemed worth it.  Unfortunately, the day we went there was a loud protest where they kept blowing air horns, so we declined the tours because it was terribly loud and chaotic.

Another beautiful site to see is the Borghese Gallery- an art museum housed in a 17th century villa.  You must book your tickets in advance and they sell out.  If they are all sold out for English, add yourself to one of the foreign language tours if available- you do not have to go with the tour guide and are allowed admission.  It was beautiful and the audio tour was worth purchasing and gave valuable and interesting information about all the paintings and sculptures.

Daphne being chased by the god Apollo is turned into a Laurel tree to be saved :)

Leave time before or after the museum tour to visit the surrounding gardens.  They are so beautiful. We rented a mini bike/car things at the gardens.  Nick would go fast down the hills and there are no seat belts or helmets and instead of being scared, we laughed the entire way, we felt like ridiculous tourists and had a blast.  The gardens are large, so the bike was an easy way to cruise around.  They also have a carousel and many kid areas if you are with your children.  They also have gelato stands (this is true pretty much of anywhere in Rome)

For my Mom's day, we went to one of her favorite restaurants- Ristorante al 34.  It is classic Italian food.  We toasted to my Mom and had a lovely meal.

The restaurant is near the Spanish Steps, which is a hot tourist stop and filled with people hanging out.

Trastevere is a neighborhood with ivy lined streets and so much good food.  It really takes off at night and is an awesome hot spot to visit.  Try Pizzaeria Ai Marmi for some delicious thin Rome pizza.  Which I did not get any pictures of because Nick is obsessed with pizza and inhaled it as soon as any landed on our plates.

Flower markets are everywhere and I wish a tradition all over the US too!

Rome would not be complete without a visit to the Trevi Fountain to throw in coins that guarantee your return. 

And there you have it- our 4 day whirlwind trip!  We also ate our weight in pizza and gelato.  The food is phenomenal. You may notice the Vatican/Sistine Chapel is missing from the travelogue.  Both Nick & I have visited it before and it is gorgeous and you should totally see it.  However, with only 4 days, we did not want to deal with the lines there and wanted to try other things!

*All photos taken on my iPhone

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Real Talk- Depression & Free Printable

Titanium is one of my favorite songs to inspire strength when my depression feels overwhelming (which is often these days). I particularly love this acoustic version by Collin McLoughlin.

The past year has been the most difficult of my life. The unexpected, sudden death of my Mom and another trauma in February that left my heart shattered sent me into the darkest depression I've experienced. I have mentioned that I had postpartum depression & clinical depression in the past, but never really talk about it- it is A "Bubbly" Life after all ;)  But unfortunately, for the past year or so, my depression is particularly brutal and I am not recovering at a speed I would like (as in instantaneous!)  and in an effort to break down stigmas and hopefully encourage others to talk, I think it is time to discuss it.

I often thought of my clinical depression as a weakness. And it certainly is a failure of my brain chemistry and a genetic weakness. However, the longer I live with my depression, I realize the strength of the people who suffer from the illness. The act of surviving under the pain, duress and the lies your depressed brain tells you is no small feat.  It is a daily, hourly and at its worst- a minute by minute struggle.  Living with that struggle makes you an incredibly strong, resilient person.  It also can make you a difficult person to be around.  My depression went untreated for a very long time and depression is a very stark contrast to my real personality. Nick & I's marriage suffered greatly (NOT solely because of my depression, good gawd, have you met Nick? ;) Nick has his own mental & emotional issues that are for him to share. But, we are determined to love each other and continue to work hard for the wonderful life we created and that is filled with many blessings (special shoutout to our two precious girls).  We have seen each other at our absolute worsts.  Lost, broken, disheveled, begging for forgiveness and grace. And thankfully, while we work on ourselves (therapy, meds) we are holding each others' hands and our love is not lost and our hearts grow with compassion and grace as we learn more about our brokenness.  (Also this is the real me writing here, but when the depression takes over, I feel hopeless.  But, today I am hopeful and leaving this here will bring me hope when darkness appears.) 

In my grief & depression journey I have read countless books, listened to podcasts and encountered many people. The most disappointing is meeting people stuck in a bitter stage or the people that use their pain (whether it be depression, loss, abuse, etc) as an excuse to inflict pain on others. I know I do not want to be that person. They feel their pain is so great that hurting others does not matter and a sufferer becomes a perpetrator.  I was the recipient of such a person who had a tragedy and used the trauma as a rationalization to inflict terrible pain onto me.  I wish that person chose love and not hate, because when you experience pain & loss, you can use it to be more compassionate, loving, caring and empathize with others.  Your pain can be an asset in helping others recover, rather than use your pain to hurt people.  My grief, my loss, and depression widens my heart and I would never choose these things to befall anyone, but I was handed them and hopefully I can use these to add peace and love to others lives- By sharing my struggle here, opening my heart to others and simply listening to people with compassion and love. 

I choose compassion,  I will not fall.  

Love you guys.

If you suffer from depression and/or have suicidal thoughts, please call or use the Suicide Prevention Lifeline website for helpful resources. 
 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Here are some books that have encouraged me on my journey:

Second Firsts: Live, Laugh & Love Again- Very, very helpful & gives scientific based advice on how our neural pathways are changed due to trauma & ways to improve.

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience & Finding Joy Practical advice & inspirational. From Sheryl Sandberg, written after the sudden death of her husband at 47.

The Way of Letting Go- One Woman's Walk Towards Forgiveness-  A memoir on grief & forgiveness.  After her daughter's murder, there is no "closure" and she chose forgiveness.  The book brings up what I wrote above- how tragedy can make people stuck and bitter or how you can grow from it positively.

When Breath Becomes Air- an inspiring memoir from Paul 
Kalanithi who died of cancer at 37. Helps to remember that life and every moment is a cherished gift. (Warning: You WILL CRY.) 

His wife did a TEDTalk here that is very inspiring and beautiful (it wouldn't be ABL without a TEDTalk link haha)

Friday Link Loving

We are back from Rome and jetlagged af.  I hope this weekend Nick & I are cured of that!  We had a wonderful, whirlwind of a trip and I will share the trip next week on the blog!

It is supposed to be 116 here in AZ- omgawd. So, I will be pretending I'm at the beach.  Print available here.

I am cooking up this recipe this weekend! Cant wait!  (minus all that cilantro- I belong to cilantro hater club)

June's PopSugar MustHaveBox was filled with a ton of goodies for Summer fun!  Order here and use code SHOP5 on your first order!  This pouch is my favorite!  Thank you PopSugar for sending it along!!

Love this terrarium DIY

Statement earrings that are wayyyy out of my price range, but a girl can dream.

Have a great weekend and stay cool friends!

Pineapple Coconut 7UP Cocktail Recipe

*Post sponsored by 7UP, all opinions are my own.  Must be 21 or older to consume alcohol.  Please drink responsibly. 

When dreaming of summer cocktails (which is often), I want something refreshing and crisp with a little touch of sweet.  A flavor that reminds me of a beach resort in Hawaii and not the desert of Arizona...  Pineapple juice is much too sweet on its' own and I used Diet 7UP® to cut the sweetness a bit and add a crisp, clean flavor. I prefer to use diet over regular 7UP, but either soda will work well for the cocktail!  You may be sitting in your backyard at your house for the cocktail but you will feel like you are in a tropical paradise while drinking it!

2 Parts Diet 7UP
Whole Pineapple (see below on how to core for a pineapple cup)
2 Parts Pineapple Juice (reserved from cut pineapple or purchase separately)
Dash of Grenadine
Squeeze of fresh Lime Juice
1 shot Coconut Rum
Lime slices & flowers for garnish (optional)

A pineapple cup is not essential for this cocktail, but it is perfect for a summer cocktail and it is so easy to make- it just looks hard to do.  At least that is what I thought before I tried making one and I was shocked how easy it is!

I purchased a pineapple corer at Target which made the job easy. Insert corer, lift and remove pineapple rings!

Cut out the core with a knife and reserve pineapple juice for the cocktail.

So simple, I promise! And, everyone likes a cocktail in a pineapple, right? Now that the pineapple cup is made, we can combine all our ingredients inside the pineapple and #mixitupalittle (If the 7UP or pineapple juice is warm, add ice, I keep everything chilled)

I like to have both alcohol and nonalcoholic options for guests. To make this cocktail a mocktail, add coconut water instead of coconut rum.

Check out Target's Cartwheel offer for savings on 7UP and pick up all your supplies and enjoy a refreshing summer cocktail! 

Sale starts today!
7/1- 7/8:

 7/9 – 7/22:

7/23 – 7/30: