Vacations that rejuvenate the soul

So hubby and I are back from our 2-week trip to an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. It was blissful. Heavenly. wonderful. There is something truly magical about disconnecting completely for a period of time. While on vacation, I don’t go online at all so no Facebook, Twitter, Email, Internet or news. If we watch TV in our room, it’s movies only; no news or worldly happenings. It’s a total and complete disconnection from the outside world as hubby and I just tune into each other and zone into 100% relaxation and connection mode.

I think every single person and couple needs that. Whether it’s going away on a trip or taking a weekend to go camping, we need to take time to disconnect with everything around us and connect intimately with the people we love most. It’s about letting go of work, life, news, worries, anxieties and just…having fun! Laughing uncontrollably together. Hugging for long moments because there’s no rush to go somewhere or do something. Talking for hours about everything and nothing. Laying side by side in silence just enjoying the presence of one another. Dancing in the rain. Holding hands. Kissing for hours. Dressing up together for dinner over candlelight.


I wish we could afford to go twice a year.

For those of you who haven’t seen my photos on Facebook, here’s a little photo-tour!

How do you disconnect from the pressures of life and reconnect with loved ones? What are some of your best vacations?

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  1. Looks like an absolutely fabulous vacation, Natalie! Glad you got to do it. With the kids, it’s hard to get away for a long period of time, but we get to go out, which is always fun! When we take vacations, it’s with the boys, so it’s a mix of relaxing and “not” relaxing, LOL. I know what you mean about disconnecting – it’s really important to do from time to time!

  2. What great pics! I haven’t been on vacation in so long, I don’t know how I’d behave. The last time I went there was no internet capabilities, though. I love the Bo Derek look with the braids and the hat! And I love that you rock a bikini! Gorgeous. But I must ask: were you that tan before the trip (in Canada!) or were those pics taken toward the end of your vacation?

    • Emma, you are DUE for a VACATION!! Girl…you gotta plan on soon. Tks for the braids luv. I love getting them done because it’s cool and easy to manage the entire time while I am there and I am all about EASY when on vacation! 🙂 I will be 50 or 60 and still rocking a bikini no matter what the bode looks like…LOL!!!
      Nope, I was not that tan before we left. I had gone and got a fairly good base tan but hubby and I got quite a bit of color while down there. We love to lay in the sun and soak up the rays. Most of the pics I posted here were from towards the end of the vacay so we were at our darkest.
      Here’s to you starting to plan your next “get away”!

  3. I did not see those pics on facebook, so thank you, thank you, for sharing. My faves are you peeking through the ferns and funny hubby with the google pop eyes.

    Ah. Disconnect from the cares of the world and relax.

    I am long overdue for a vacation like that. When we had our lake house in the piney woods of east Texas (log home, awesome setting in the piney woods), I remember the visceral woosh of hum-drum work-a-day worries slip away when we crossed the bridge over Lake Ray Hubbard, leaving Dallas and the hustle it entailed behind.

    Do you suppose the new owner would notice if I moved into the apartment we built above the garage? I feel a stealth mission in the making. Welcome home. I know you didn’t miss me, but I missed your snark attacks!

    • Well Gloria I just added you as a friend on FB so you’ll have to go and check out the full albums. I’ve got a couple videos of hubby yet to post as well – total HOOT!
      It sounds like it’s your time for a vacation girl!!! The lake house sounds amazing and I am sure a stealth visit wouldn’t offend the new owners AT ALL! I am sure they’d welcome you – like family! Right?! I mean…if it wasn’t for you selling them the property, they wouldn’t have it so…they kind of owe you!! 🙂
      Awwww…thank you…and I definitely missed y’all!

  4. Sounds (and looks) like a wonderful vacation. and you look like you enjoyed. alot.

  5. Nancy J Nicholson says:

    Beautiful pictures Natalie. Sometimes as we live “the life” we also have to remember to take some time and disconnect.

  6. Juliana Haygert says:

    Wow, Natalie, what a gorgeous place! I KNOW you had a great time! Woot 😉

  7. Welcome home! Thanks for sharing your fabulous photos – proof positive about the good time you had. Let those memories take you back to that special place every time the real world starts to encroach and start saving for next year!

  8. Elena Aitken says:

    Looks like an amazing trip!!! Glad you’re back though. 🙂

  9. gingercalem says:

    Oh my gosh, LOVE!! Gorgeous pics. That clear water looks to die for. My husband and I are dying to take a getaway trip. It’s challenging with the kids and being totally ‘unplugged’ but someday we’ll figure this out. 🙂 Glad you had a wonderful time with your honey!

    • You guys definitely need to go Ginger! And heck, take the kids. We had two couples who came with their kids and they had a BLAST! If your kids like beach and pool, they’d love an all-inclusive!!! Or…hire a great babysitter and plan a little get-away of your own….squeee!!!

  10. Coleen Patrick says:

    Beautiful photos! You look happy and relaxed 🙂

  11. Looks awesome natalie!! I don’t think I’ve ever had a total disconnect…lol….I might have to go in smaller stages first – like 15 min or so! Great pictures….

  12. Welcome home! Your trip looked awesome. How many bathing suits do you own? Geez, I think you have more than my entire family! And your tan, wow!

    I’ve never been brave enough to totally disconnect from the world. That is so scary to me, which means I need to do it.

    Thanks for sharing your trip with us. It’s great to have you back!

    • LOL!! Hubby will tell you that I have a slight bikini addiction. All the suits I brought this year were new and…*hanging head in shame (but not really)*…I didn’t even bring all the news ones I bought…hahaha…I think I have like 30 or more. I know…it’s a problem. I am seeking help!
      Ahhhh, yes, the first time felt weird but every year that we do it, it gets easier. Especially going for 2 weeks because after a few days, the jitters pass and you suddenly just ease into life on the beach! 🙂
      It’s FAB to be back honey. I miss yas!

  13. Welcome back!! Fabulous pictures and it looks like you guys had a blast. I can completely see that rejuvenation 🙂

  14. Beautiful pictures! You were so deserving of that vacation. I am so glad you guys got to go. I just love the fifth picture down of hubs! Brings a smile to my face. 🙂

  15. Oh, I wish! I’m bringing my kids to you now, so my hubby and I can get away like that. Is that all right? 😉

    I love the attitude about just spending time together, laughing, hugging, relaxing. It is important to connect with each other, which requires disconnecting elsewhere at times. I loved the pics too! Honey, you are GO-geous! I adore the corn row hairdo. You rocked it! It looks like you had a great time!

    Now that you’re back, we all expect you to read the 324 posts we put on our blogs while you were gone. LOL!

    • HAHAHA!!! Well, you can drop them off but not sure if you’d like to have your kids around ME and Hubby because we don’t ever really shut off??? LOL!!! They’d come back all scarred for life…hahahaha!!
      Yes, disconnecting to enjoy a deeper connection is wonderful and I think we ALL need to do that from time to time. If not a 2-week vacay, a day, a night, a weekend – something!
      Awwww…thank you Julie!!! 🙂 I love the braids since they are cool and make life soooo much easier while on vacay. I still have them in actually…HAHAHA!!
      LOL!! I’m on a reading frenzy! 🙂

  16. I love! You guys look beautiful! You simply glow. I am long over-due for a vaca and this just inspired me more to schedule one. Even if it’s just for the weekend. I love to unplug from the world. It’s so necessary I think. Well thanks for sharing and thanks for the mention 🙂

  17. Fab pics, Natalie!!! You guys look blissful and with total joy. I haven’t done an all-inclusive resort yet, but have researched a few. Need to add that to the future trips list. I have thought about taking more land trips where I’m “disconnected.” Like a solo writer’s retreat to New Mexico or to the eastern coast of North Carolina. The most disconnected I’ve traveled is on cruises without Internet or TV beyond cruise news and CNN. I can unplug pretty well on the weekend, but do feel the need to peek at something for any news events.

    Thanks for the blog mention and I’m ready to see you boogie as you dance dare! 🙂

  18. Oh, sun, beach, no social media (well, I would miss that one). Sounds like you two had a fabulous time. I’m so happy for you!
    Great pics too – you guys look so relaxed and do in love 🙂

    I have a photo taken years ago in Mexico with local ladies braiding my hair like that too!

  19. WOW I so want to go to that beach and swim in the clear water. You have to tell me where did you get your swimsuits girl??? They are gorgeous!

    P.S. You have a BEAUTIFUL home! My goodness.

    • Awwww thank you Nicole. For this year’s trip, I got all of my bandeau tops at Victoria Secret (ordered online) and all of my string bikinis from a sports store here called Sports Check. I have a slight bikini addiction…LOL!!!
      Thank you for the wonderful compliment on the home. We do luv it! 🙂

      • OK there are Sport Checks in Western Canada too! I’m so scared to order online from Victoria Secret for it to arrive and be the wrong fit/size. Excellent shopping. 🙂

        • I was sacred for the same reason with VS as well but I did end up returning about half of what I ordered and I was very impressed with how easy it was and how fast. The only downfall is you don’t get the shipping back…alas, the cost to order hot bikinis. LOL! But Sport Checks selection this year is amazing! Happy Shopping! 🙂

  20. This looks amazing!! I’m so glad you got to go on vacation. In 9 years, my guy and I have never been on a tropical vacation like this alone… we’re always with friends or family. I think we need to change that!

    • Well, we did have family and friends with us for the entire 2 weeks. All only came a week each but ventured in and out different times through our trip. However, since we are such huge sun people, we did get to spend a lot of time alone…and I think as friends/family we all gave each other space to have our own vacays. It was a good balance of couple time and time with people. Although one of these years I think we will plan a solo trip (at least for one week of our trip). I agree, that alone time is key! 🙂

  21. This looks like it was a fabulous vacation. My husband and I aren’t very good at disconnecting from the outside world. Even on our honeymoon we paid for internet so that we could check our email. (That was before I started blogging though so there was no blog writing or reading or commenting going on.) It’s something we really need to do. Thanks for the reminder 🙂

    • That Marcy – it was wonderful.
      No way – Internet on the honeymoon. LOL! Well, I guess as long as you are able to relax and unwind regardless of what’s coming in your inbox, that’s what counts. I can be pretty sensitive and a worrier so if I got an email that upset me, it’d only ruin my vacay so I don’t even risk it. LOL!! Here’s to you and your man finding some downtime together. 🙂

  22. You are POSITIVELY GLOWING in every picture. Gorgeous!


  1. […] Whatever crankiness my mind is going through, I can get past it. Whatever hormonal roller coaster ride my body is deciding to take me on, I can strap in and enjoy the ride. Hot flashes? Just a quick vacay in Punta Cana with my friend Natalie Hartford! […]

  2. […] Whatever crankiness my mind is going through, I can get past it. Whatever hormonal roller coaster ride my body is deciding to take me on, I can strap in and enjoy the ride. Hot flashes? Just a quick vacay in Punta Cana with my friend Natalie Hartford! […]

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