the magic of movement.

Sometimes, I'd rather not move. I like to sit and hide from the world. Perhaps this is one of my main flaws. I'm an introvert with extrovert tendencies-haha. The old double whammy! I'm the friend you have to beg to go out. (lol, just ask my friends Christy and Harlee). Once I've hauled out the door, however, I have a good time, sometimes too good. OK - so maybe I danced on a table a time or two. Do I ever regret going out? No! I don’t even regret dancing on the table.

Some of my best memories involve doing something crazy with my friends. They're also my funniest memories. Like the time my friends and I ran from one end of a subway car to the other only to run out the door without saying a word. That was a good time. (Well, maybe you just had to be there). I’m not saying going out has to be crazy, but it does feel good to have some good ole’ girl time with your favorite ladies. Lesson one: Get moving with your friends. Movement can be something as simple as grabbing a coffee and talking about dreams. How about taking a walk to vent your troubles or getting together to sing your favorite Destiny’s Child song on karaoke? I'm glad my friends get me moving.

Social movement is good. Physical movement is even better. Take working out. You know, pumping iron and stuff like that (haha). Seriously, I've made some really beneficial fitness strides this year. I've found working out, whether it’s ballet class, pure barre, or just a run in my neighborhood, helps me drastically. I just love working up a good sweat. Honestly, I think some of my best ideas come during workouts. Also... let's talk about the amazing accomplished feeling we get when we finish a hard workout. Score! It's good to get moving physically. It’s the best medicine. Besides, if life gives you lemons, perhaps shaking in a good workout could give you lemonade. Hey, try it out!

Maybe the most obvious way to move is to travel. I tend to get antsy when Aaron and I have been in one place for too long. What can I say? I have a travel bug! I really don’t have to go far to satisfy the travel bug. For example, since I am a bit of a nature freak, I need my bare feet in grass. A quick subway ride or walk will bring me to a park where I can frolic as I please.

One classic Americana way to get moving is on a good ole’ road trip. I recently took one from Colorado to Utah with my best friends. Let me tell you, we had a blast. We shared lots of funny stories, national park hikes and one unforgettable Olive Garden dining experience. Don’t worry. I didn't dance on the table. (I’ll tell you about it later). My point is, adventure can be right outside your front door. Get moving to discover it!

The photos above are from my birthday trip last year. Aaron and I were on the California coast celebrating. During an early morning walk, Aaron noticed how great the light was, so I ran back to change into one of my favorite dresses and grab a few snaps. I loved running to the big waves and feeling them splash. Who cares about wet dresses? It's fun to capture movement in photos! Something special happened while I was running with my hair flying in the wind. I felt so free, like anything could happen. It was like being a kid when everything is fresh and new. I want these "moving" moments to last forever. Precious moves bring treasured memories.

I dare you to get moving this week. After all, you never know what may happen. You might just get captured by the magic of the movement!

This Post is created in conjunction with the ladies of The Refined Collective. Be sure and read the other articles today by: Lauren Scruggs and The Refined Woman.  Also, join us over on instagram today under #therefinedcollective to see what everyone else has to say on this topic.

3 years.

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Aaron and I were recently reading the paper together and saw a picture celebrating a couple who had been married for 75 years. We both were in a happy kind of shock. For a couple to stay together for 75 years is such a stellar accomplishment. Hearing stories of couples like this brings tears to my eyes. I can only hope that one day we will be one of these couples. What an incredible journey those 75 years must have been for them. How many crazy stories they must have, how many roadblocks have they hit, graduations, tears and joys. I want to interview them! 

Aaron and I are celebrating our three year wedding anniversary this week. In the last three years we have had our far share of problems. There has been a bit of a learning curve for sure. One of my favorite (and very thrilling, lol) moments this year happened on our trip to Morocco. 

We were out in the Sahara Desert…and it was HOT (captain obvious-lol). We were about to go on a two hour camel ride. I was rearing to go. After all, I had ridden camels about three times before, so I was basically the "Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman" of camels. What could go wrong, right?! Well, just as I was getting on my camel, it reared back its head and proceeded to try to, literally, bite my head off. Then stood up abruptly and tried to swing me off. Taken quite by surprise, I kinda leaped off said camel (which was very high off the ground by the way) and I landed on the sand, but was I safe? Nope. The camel then decided to roll itself on top of me. Needless to say, I thought I was a goner when I saw the large mass literally landing on me. I somehow managed to roll away, but was shaking with fear. Aaron grabbed me and held me so tight. I finally felt safe. Aaron felt like my knight in shiny (shining lol) armor, and those of you who know me personally know I don’t say stuff like that-haha. I was able to come out of this crazy experience with only a few large scraps and bruises. But, man, I will never forget that experience. 

Feeling safe is so important in a relationship. I loved the feeling that day in the Sahara Desert with my husband. But you know what the best part of the story is? I got back on another camel and still rode for two hours! #GIRLPOWER

Below are a few tips we have learned over the years that help keep our relationship alive and kicking. We are not a perfect or normal (haha) couple by any means, but these tips really help us keep connected/always on some sort of adventure. I hope you guys are having a great week. If you are planning to ride a camel anytime soon, proceed with caution-haha. 

1. Try not to go to bed angry. 

People fight. Relationships are not perfect. We are still learning and will most likely still be learning till we are married for 75 years-haha. We have found through the 6 years together - 3 married - that going to bed angry is no bueno. Just try to forgive, forget and move on. I promise it will make the next morning a thousand times better.

2. Read together instead of watching tv. 

Don’t get me wrong, we love tv. Also, I am a bit of a movie freak (I mean, I know every word to The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly as well as The Lord of the Rings Trilogy)-haha, I am a nerd...I know. However, this year we have discovered the joy that comes from reading with each other. We read everything from cookbooks, to novels, to my little hometown paper. I find this time brings up conversations that wouldn't happen while watching a movie. Plus it’s just super duper soothing to be read too, am I right? Try it out!

3. Take time to have dates. 

One of the most important tips I have learned from friends who are much older and wiser is to "take the time to get out of your apartment/house to do pretty much anything." Have a picnic in the park. Take a drive just to watch the stars. Grab your laptop and popcorn to watch a movie outside (or maybe just in your backyard). Dates don't need to cost a lot of money to be fun. It’s just so essential to have time to reconnect and unwind together. 

4. Surprise each other with the unexpected. 

Aaron and I love surprises almost to a fault. For instance, sometimes we will take a trip and I will have no idea where we are going, Aaron will just tell me what kind of clothes to pack. This makes trips so much more of an adventure, which we both love. I just love the feeling of something unexpectedly brilliant coming my way. I find this keeps things spicy…if you know what I mean. 

5. Congratulate each other on even the small stuff. 

The past few years I really haven't been as good at this as I think I should. As a couple, we are learning how important it really is to sometimes throw a party (with maybe some streamers-haha) for the smallest victories. These little victories can really help pave the way for big ones so they need to be not overlooked. So go ahead and party when you don’t get a parking ticket. Celebrate the small stuff! 

Bonus tip from Aaron:

6. If it makes a good story, you should probably do it. 

There have been so many times when we are trying to choose between two options and we just can't make up our minds. Sometimes, the best thing to do is just to pick the option that will make the best story or possibly even leave the best legacy. I want to be able to sit down in my living room with my grandkids (A loonnngggg way from now) and be able to tell stories for hours on end. For instance, "You'll never believe what happened while riding camels through the Sahara Desert" or "We just tossed all our plans aside and got married in Iceland!". You know what I mean. Be the kind of couple you want to be remembered as for years and years to come. You'll definitely have a fun time in the process. 

+ photos above by out talented friend Chad Davis.

Villa des Orangers

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Our recent trip to Morocco was nothing short of surreal. I loved exploring all the sights and smells this marvelous country had to offer. We found ourselves getting lost in the medinas and markets, eating all the different delicious tagines. We marveled at the wondrous architecture (major design inspiration for me). 

While in the city of Marrakesh we had the opportunity to stay at the beautiful Villa Des Orangers hotel, just steps away from the main market in Marrakesh. Villa Des Orangers started out as a personal home to a prominent business man. It was built in the 1930s. The home was converted to a beautiful hotel by the talented new owners. I loved the craftsmanship in every detail. I found myself marveling at arched doors, intimate courtyards, lovely fountains, and glorious tile designs. 

Villa des Orangers is without a doubt one of the most luxurious places I've ever stayed! The staff was available and ready to assist in any way. I especially loved the option of having breakfast brought directly to the room in the morning. It was such a beautiful experience eating breakfast on our private roof deck and watching the Moroccan sunrise. This is definitely something I will never forget. On top of this, the food was simply delicious. It was always extremely fresh and innovative. They mixed up the menu a lot so that it wasn't exclusively Moroccan. The chef added a French flare to many of the dishes, which was actually a welcome treat when you just want to switch things up a little.. Another thing that made the experience so delightful was that they provided free non-alcoholic drinks for all guests. This may not sound like a huge deal, but when it's over 100 degrees outside, you find yourself drinking much more water than normal. Those bottles of water can really start to add up when staying at a resort, so it was nice that we didn't have to think about that here. 

Aaron and I also had one of the greatest massages of our lives at Villa Des Orangers! They have a beautiful spa on premise and a very sweet staff. Aaron was so relaxed that he actually fell asleep in the middle of the massage, which was really cute! I definitely recommend the experience.

Another thing I loved about Villa Des Orangers was its location. It's right in the heart of old Marrakesh, within the old city walls. We were able to walk directly to the local souk/market with ease. The first time we went with a guide (which Orangers helped us set up). The second time we went on our own. 

A word of advice if you're trying to navigate the markets on your own: Bring a map! Getting to the market is very easy, but once you are inside, shops may wind around in every direction and break off into multiple forks in the road. 

It's extremely easy to lose track of where you are in the markets, so beware! One more piece of advice for the markets: if you are purchasing a large item such as a rug or a large lamp, they will help set up shipping to the States. So don't be worried about having to take the rug with you as a carry-on. Venders make it very simple to ship large items. 

Back to Villa Des Orangers! After a long day of shopping in the souks, Orangers was like paradise. Walking into the front entrance felt like walking into a kingdom. Aaron and I would immediately change into our bathing suits and relax by one of their three pools. There was even a rooftop pool which overlooked the city. All pools offered poolside drink service, which totally hit the spot after a long day of walking around in the heat. 

I can't say enough good things about Villa Des Orangers! It is a fantastic spot in Marrakesh. I can't wait to return in my future travels to Morocco! Thanks again to the entire staff!