where to stay in tulum mexico

Last fall, Eric and I escaped the cold with a one-year anniversary getaway to Tulum, Mexico!

After an incredible honeymoon in Jamaica, we knew this “second honeymoon” would have a lot to live up too. Thankfully, after lots of research, we found the lovely Secrets Akumal Rivera Maya resort for our trip.

Giving you the scoop in case there’s a beach vacation in your future and you’re wondering where to stay in Tulum, Mexico!

P.S. We weren’t traveling with a fancy camera, so you’ll have to pardon some of the lesser quality pics!

The Views

Secrets Akumal is breathtakingly beautiful! It is essentially spotless, and the detail that has gone into its layout and design can’t be missed. I instantly fell in love with the luscious gardens full of bright flowers and massive palm trees. Every member of the staff we interacted with was incredibly friendly and willing to help with anything we needed. The service was wonderful.

The resort size felt just right – not too big, not too small. Within 5 minutes or so we could essentially get anywhere we needed, and I never complained about walking around because of the gorgeous views and ocean breeze everywhere we went.

where to stay in tulum mexico

where to stay in tulum mexico

where to stay in tulum mexico

The Beach & Pools

We always tend to spend most of our time on the beach versus the pool, but both were equally wonderful!

It was never difficult to find a lounge chair on the white sand beach – we usually grabbed a couple near the front of the water, and aligned with the volleyball court so E could play in the afternoons! One thing to note, it’s not a private beach, so you did have some families or non-resorters hanging out too, but that never bothered us or interfered with our relaxing. The staff does a great job to ensure those folks aren’t using chairs, and provides excellent ocean-side food and drink service. The beach was clean, romantic, and never felt overcrowded.

where to stay in tulum mexico


where to stay in tulum mexico

where to stay in tulum mexico

My favorite part was that the beach was actually a protected sea turtle haven. We could rent snorkeling equipment for free from the resort and see these beautiful creatures right there, just a bit out into the water!

The Food & Drinks

My favorite thing about all-inclusive resorts is that you’ve got unlimited food and drink options! E and I love that we don’t have to think through how much everything costs, but can just relax and get whatever we want. Secrets Akumal had a huge variety, so we enjoyed trying all the different options during the day and having dinner at a new restaurant each night.

where to stay in tulum mexico

where to stay in tulum mexico

where to stay in tulum mexico

Our favorite spot for breakfast was the killer buffet at Market Cafe. For lunch, we loved sitting outside and choosing from the variety of options at Barefoot Grill. I recommend the burger or the quesadilla! From French to Mexican cuisine, we tried something diferent each evening and felt so fancy. Since we were there over Thanksgiving too, they put up the cutest decorations and had a great holiday buffet!

For drinks, the swim up pool bar or Barracuda Bar on the beach were my top picks – it had swings!

where to stay in tulum mexico

I fell in love with my one-piece suits: two-pack from Asos.

The Room

E & I knew while we were treating ourselves to this vacay, we wouldn’t be able to drop as much as we did on our honeymoon the year before – just the reality of it as we are budgeting for other trips on our list!

That being said, we picked the Junior Suite Tropical View room and were upgraded to the same space with a swim up pool upon arrival. We were completely blown away by the beauty. If I didn’t know, I would’ve believed someone if they told me it was one of the premium rooms!

Our suite was spotless and even had a “Happy Anniversary” banner across the door upon arrival.

where to stay in tulum mexico

where to stay in tulum mexico

where to stay in tulum mexico

Ignore my drying bathing suit…haha.

The giant king bed was beyond comfy, and there was plenty of space for lounge furniture and luggage. The shower and jacuzzi tub were so luxurious. I loved the tropical vibes outside our patio that gave us privacy, even with the swim up pool.

The Anniversary Perks

If you take a Honeymoon or anniversary trip at a resort, always be sure to let them know and request those special occasion perks! Secrets Akumal not only had the banner decor for Eric and I, but a bottle of champagne in our room upon arrival.

Throughout the week, we also had special turn-down service with rose petals scattered throughout the room – totally romantic. We were also treated to a special breakfast in bed! We scheduled it for our last morning and enjoyed an amazing spread of goodies before heading to check-out.

where to stay in tulum mexico

The All-Inclusive & Adult-Only Status

We’ve dubbed our anniversary trips as the ultimate opportunity to #treatourselves, meaning all-inclusive is totally an option if we want it to be! After last summer’s magical trip to Machu Picchu (guide coming soon!), I was ready for a vacation where we honestly wouldn’t have to worry or work much for anything.

Secrets calls this exceeding of expectations Unlimited Luxury. Amenities include unlimited gourmet dining options, pool/beach wait service, top-shelf spirits, 24-hour room service, endless daytime and night-time activities, and more!

There’s also of course some additional experiences you can pay for too. For E and I, that was scuba diving! After getting our scuba licenses in Jamaica, we knew for our anniversary trip we wanted to get back at it.

where to stay in tulum mexico

Last, but definitely not least, Secrets Akumal is adults-only. E & I have loved this aspect of our beach getaways. Don’t get us wrong, we want kiddos someday, but right now we are loving this adult time knowing it won’t always be like that!

It probably goes without saying we had such an amazing time celebrating our one year anniversary. I hope we can make it to another Secrets resort soon!

reading and watching

With all this chilly weather, ’tis the season for cozying up with a good book in bed or on the couch for a Netflix binge, yes??

In last few months, I’ve been lucky to check some good stuff off my lists of reads and shows. I’m always collecting recommendations and had to share my current favorites in case any of you are the same!

Have you read or seen any of these before?


Side note – did you know one of my goals for the year is to read 20 books? Definitely more than I’ve read in previous years. One of my favorite hobbies has always been reading though, so I’m hoping this gets my routine back in order.

Check the recent books I recommend below!

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter // What a story for dreamers! This novel spans over fifty years, as it bounces between a cast of characters with tangled lives and intertwined hopes – from 1960s Italy to present-day Hollywood. It evokes such humanity, while simultaneously showcasing the magic of foreign countries, old Hollywood, and falling in love.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn // I felt like I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Gone Girl is the suspenseful story following Amy Dunne’s sudden disappearance on her and her husband’s fifth anniversary. Twist and turns, paired with intriguing detail, keep readers on their toes as everyone tries to piece together details from different sources to determine who is guilty here.

Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life by Jenna Bush Hager & Barbara Pierce Bush // I was instantly drawn to this book for a few reasons – its family has Texas roots, I love history and am always drawn to learning about what goes on behind-the-scenes, and its focus was on sisterhood. If you have a sister, this memoir is a must-read to me. It puts into beautiful words and stories so much of that special bond. I also loved how it shows the closeness of a family, despite the challenges it faces and the opinions (including political ones!) it differed in.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple // The story focuses on a close-knit relationship between a mother, Bernadette Fox, and her daughter, Bee, in a Seattle community where they’re the odd ones out. When Bernadette disappears before a family trip, Bee strings together various correspondence and documents to track her down. This touching novel acknowledges the challenge of finding one’s place in the world and is laugh-out-loud funny (I’m not kidding, you can ask E who heard me the whole time)!

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls // This memoir is written so beautifully, with vivid detail and a voice of triumph against all odds. Walls writes about growing up with parents full of non-conventional ideals that led to an adventurous, but challenging, youth. The stories she tells of her childhood have me full of the awe and admiration of the tenacity her (and her siblings) had to survive. The memoir carries you all the way through their young adult lives, showing you that fighting for your own success, in the most challenging circumstances, can still be done with love.

reading and watching


Big Little Lies // If you’re a fan of brilliant women supporting each other and love feeling empowered (who doesn’t?!), than this is a must. Eric and I binged this series right before the holidays, and then I got my family hooked. BLL has shined during awards season, and with the mystery, intrigue, and all-star acting that begins in episode 1, it’s easy to see why. Anyone else want to be bffs with the female cast?

The Bachelor // Every season I tell myself no, this is so ridiculous, you must stop, and every season I get hooked anyway. Laughing through and dissecting the whole thing with E, who I’ve also got hooked, is just too much fun. I wasn’t a fan of Arie being this winter’s lead, but he’s actually impressed me so far.

The Crown // Being a lover of history and always fascinated by the behind-the-scenes stories, this Netflix show has sucked me in quickly! I love the beautiful settings and wardrobes. And even though it’s definitely dramatized throughout, I’ve read how a lot of it is quite accurate and am learning a lot about the royal family.

What is missing from my collection, friends? I want to hear your thoughts!

favorite winter dress

We have had some crazy back and forth weather in Chicago these past couple weeks. Right after the new year, the temps were frigid. This weekend, it was 50 degrees and sunny! The rest of the time, we’ve been in between it all.

This chilly weather usually means a go-to pair of black jeans for your girl, but I’ve tried to break that pattern a little more this year with a few dresses in the mix! Today, I’m sharing my favorite one – a sweater swing dress, with a subtle turtle neck from Old Navy.

favorite winter dress

Thanks Benavides Photography!

Saturday afternoon Eric and I had no plans (wahooo!), so we did a bit of shopping in Chicago’s Southport neighborhood. This dress, which happens to be the best combo of stylish and comfy, transitioned perfectly from the baby shower I attended in the morning, to our afternoon out on the town.

Those who know me know this wine hue is my favorite fall/winter tone. Not only is it the color of my dress, it’s also on my nails at the moment.

While unfortunately, it seems like this exact color is sold out online at the moment, I’ll tell ya a little secret: I loved this swing dress so much, I actually picked it up in two tones – a gray as well! After all, it’s perfect for work too.

(And, if like me, your obsessed with things the color of vino – this cardi also caught my eye.)

favorite winter dress

favorite winter dress

favorite winter dress

Dress | Coat (similar) | Bracelet | Tote

I wore this maroon beauty with tights (fleece-lined, a must!), black booties, and a dainty bracelet by Kendra Scott. Did you know during your birthday month you get 50% a piece of your choice at Kendra??

I’ve blogged that coat before – I think it might be one of my favorite purchases ever. It sadly always sells out quickly in the fall, but I’ve linked to a similar one here. This tote is an accessories staple!

Where do you find some of your favorite winter pieces??

Hope you had a lovely weekend, friends! Here’s to making it a great week.

Days By Day

2018 goals

Well, we’re three weeks in, so let me be one of the last to say Happy New Year, friends!

This is my first post in 2018, so while the time for new year’s shenanigans may have past, we’re rolling with it for today.

I always love January. For one, it’s my birthday month and I feel like loving your birthday month is kind of a given. Aside from that, once New Year’s Day comes, it truly feels like a clean breath of fresh air. We’re all going, going, going with the holidays, that when January finally arrives, it’s like whew! we needed this.

It’s a time for dreaming and goal-setting. A time for self-reflection and motivation. A time for cozying up on the couch to hide from the cold with a good book or movie. And one of my favorite parts, a time for planning new travels.

Two weekends ago, we celebrated my birthday in a Michigan cabin full of friends for the third year – it definitely brings feelings of gratitude and excitement for what’s ahead.

2018 goals

So while it’s no secret around here I’m a big dreamer and lover of adventure, I often times don’t do a good enough job for myself at explicitly writing out all those things I’m after. (Did you know you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals by writing them down?)

And in 2018, I want to ensure I’m really spending times doing the things I love, and that I’m growing and learning throughout the months.

With that, I figured a post spilling out my 2018 goals and dreams couldn’t be more fitting! Here are some things I’m striving for this year

  • Being intentional & mindful. With each moment, am I doing whatever it is with with real attention and purpose? Am I loving others well and truthfully? Am I pursuing my goals and dreams full force, and not letting fear stop me? I want these questions at the forefront this year. I want to consciously be present and live with deliberate passion.

2018 goals

  • Give abundantly. This year, I want to serve more: in my city, in my church, etc. I want to find organizations that allow me to impact those things big on my heart – women, young girls, animals (you guys know I’m pup obsessed).


  • Travel to my bucket list of American cities. E & I think a big international trip is in store for us come 2019, so this year we want to save up and plan trips to the U.S. cities on our list – including Portland, Seattle, Boston, Miami, Scottsdale, & Nashville. Any and all recos are welcomed!

2018 goals

  • Read 20 books. I have always loved to read, but when life has gotten busy, this hobby of mine has slowed down all too much. I no longer want that to be an excuse and have big ambitions for the year. I just finished my first pick – The Glass Castle.


  • Spend time in the Word. The other day, I read something a girlfriend sent me that focused on how I planned to grow spiritually in 2018. It helped me realize how important, or more important, it is to set spiritual goals (just as we set physical, financial goals, etc.) since it feeds into everything else I do! This year, I want to sit in God’s word regularly.

2018 goals

  • Making moves with my passions: writing & event planning. Two things I have always loved, but have fallen even more in love with in the past few years as I’ve built my blog, planned our wedding, and helped others with theirs. I can always feel myself grow antsy when I’m away from the blog for awhile and time fills up with the day-to-day, but I want to brush out any fear of success and be intentional with time towards these passions.


  • Figuring out our next move. E & I have talked forever about living abroad. While we aren’t packing up and leaving Chicago tomorrow by any means, we know within a year or so, we should figure things out so we can really set a plan in motion.

Here’s to making 2018 a year of growing, learning, and investing in what we care about most! What is one of your goals for the year?

Excited to cheer each other on.

men's wooden watch

Hi there, friends! It’s been pretty quiet around here, but if you follow along on Insta, you may have seen why…Eric and I have been hard at work these last couple months on his photography website!

It definitely took some trial and error, but it has been so rewarding. I love that we’ve got a fresh space to showcase his beautiful work.

Now, that whole journey could be another post, but today I’m talking about E for a whole other reason – holiday gifting with JORD! After all his hard work this fall, I knew I wanted to treat him to a special surprise this season.

You might remember from earlier this year that I’m already a fan of JORD’s wooden watches. Unique accessories that are both practical and stylish?? Yes, please. So when they reached out to fill me in on some new styles, Christmas came early for E.

men's wooden watch

men's wooden watch

This sweet husband of mine definitely loves a good watch. He’s been gifted a couple over the years, but nothing quite like this cool timepiece from JORD’s newest collection, the Hyde series.

Each JORD watch is made from 100% natural, hand-finished woods. E’s watch in particular is minimalism at its best, featuring a striking black face, metal tipped hands, and a walnut wood band.


men's wooden watch

men's wooden watch

Aside from their sophisticated look, I love how these pieces can easily be dressed up or down. Eric can pair it with casual weekend outfits as we explore Christmastime in the city, but also dress it up for the holiday parties and family outings to come later this month!

Landing on this watch was no easy task, there was a whole special selection of men’s wood watches at JORD to choose from. They also have a killer collection of elegant woman’s watches too. With the variety of finishes and colors, there’s honestly something for everyone.

You can check out the one I had to have for myself here!

men's wooden watch


Eric’s Watch | Men’s Watches | Women’s Watches

Thinking one of these unique timepieces might make the perfect gift for a special someone this season?

Or that it might be time to #treatyoself to some stylish new arm candy??

Then you’re in luck – I’m so excited to have partnered with JORD to provide you a limited time 25% off code for your holiday shopping! Simply fill out this form and your offer instantly goes to your inbox.

{Get your exclusive 25% off code!}

Psst! Friendly reminder: Your code will expire on December 19, 2017.

Which watch is your favorite?? Tell me in the comments below!

Wishing you a happy December and lots of luck with your holiday shopping checklist!