Category: locations

We made it through our first week back from being out of town, the travel hangover is over and I think we are just now getting back to our regular schedule.  It was actually a pretty good transition and not too terrible but the kids were definitely a bit thrown off, waking up entirely too early some days and sleeping in later than normal others.  I even found myself extremely tired at night which is a little out of character for me.  There is a bit of sadness when your summer vacation comes to an end.  You look forward to it for so long and then when it is over, you realize that school is right around the corner and summer will surely be coming to an end soon.  We are going to make the most of these last 19 days!

As I mentioned in my New York post, we spent Sunday through Friday morning in New York and then headed on the train at Union Station for Washington D.C. to visit some of our dear friends.  For this West Coast family, it is entirely new to think that in a three hour train ride you can travel through 5 different states.  New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Delaware,  and Maryland.  It was a great way to see the country a bit. The last time we were in D.C. we had a tour of the White House and saw the Lincoln and Washington Memorials so this time we visited the Capitol building and Georgetown.  Georgetown was one of the cutest towns I have ever seen and I am really crossing my fingers that one of my children go to college there so I have a reason to visit.  It is not only home to some of the best shopping ever, but Baked & Wired might just have the best cupcakes I have ever tasted.  We also ate lunch in the city at Founding Farmers, a delish farm to table restaurant located a few blocks from the White House.  The weekend was spent in Virginia at our friends home and we did everything from completely relaxing in their backyard to floating down a river for two hours (this was the kids favorite) and wine tasting at Cana vineyards prior to catching our plane.  Every time we go to D.C. I am amazed at all there is to do in the area.  I feel that sometimes this city gets overlooked when compared to New York, Chicago or San Francisco, but it is one of our families favorite.  I am guessing we will want to be going back a third time soon.

Happy Weekend.

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“One cannot paint New York as it is, but rather as it is felt” – Georgia O’Keefe

When I travel, I really hate to over plan.  Part of my love for seeing the world is not having a set schedule and being able to walk the streets, grab a coffee and rest when you want and find hidden gems that you could perhaps overlook when you are quickly on to the next.  As our plane took off in LA, there were only two things that we had purchased tickets for; the 9/11 Museum and Memorial and a Yankees game.  Other than that, we were just going to figure it out as we go, understanding that this may limit how much of the city they see but making the entire trip more enjoyable for everyone.  What we didn’t realize is that this approach actually brought us through more of the city than I could have ever imagined. The children now love New York as much as I do and are asking when we can go back.  I must say, if you have thought about bringing your children to New York but have been a bit hesitant, GO FOR IT!  It is crazy how much there is to do with them.  I am going to share our day by day (apology in advance in how long this post is) with just a few photos on what we did and what they loved.

Here is our little adventure in New York…

Monday – The American Museum of Natural History, Central Park and The MET (for just a second)

We were staying right on Central Park South so it made sense that the first day there we would simply walk out the door and head toward the Upper West Side and the American Museum of Natural History.  The children love Natural History museums and we had heard this was one of the best.  It made complete sense to walk because it was gorgeous outside and it would give us a chance to see the park.  The museum was incredible and to make it even better, we grabbed Shake Shack for lunch right across the street.  On impulse we decided to walk across the park to the Upper East Side and the MET.  Though we did not decide to go in (there is only so much museum time a child has), we did decide to drive remote control sailboats in the park for a while, allowing us to soak up the sun and spend some peaceful time together.  The perfect first day.

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Tuesday – The 9/11 Memorial and Museum, Battery Park and the Statue of Liberty, SOHO, the Bowery

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum was a MUST when we first decided to go to New York.  Our Middle Man was born on September 11th and has always known his birthday was important but never has fully understood why.  Our Oldest has started to learn about 9/11 in school and it seemed like the perfect time to share with them this tragedy in American History.  We headed downtown early so that we could take them to Battery Park and show them the Statue of Liberty (no boats or Ellis Island for us today).  Then we spent some time at the Memorial, explaining a bit of what they were going to see inside and paying respect to those who were lost.  The museum absolutely blew us all away.  They did an incredible job and it brought back all the sadness and loss that I remember so vividly from that day in 2001.  For the boys, they experienced for the first time the planes hitting, the buildings falling and all the loss.  At one point I saw tears in my Oldest’s eyes.  They now understand the weight of that day.  The entire museum was incredible moving and I recommend everyone visit if they can.  We then headed to SOHO for lunch and a small bit of shopping at my favorite French boutique, Comptoir Des Cotonniers .  That night we met friends in the Bowery at Bacchanal.  This was our one “adult” dinner, the food was amazing and thanks to three iPads, we made it through.

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Wednesday – Chelsea Piers, the Highline, Little Italy, Time Square

Our dear friend Maritza of MilkShop NY and her husband live right outside the city and we had planned on getting together with them and their beautiful family.  They suggested the driving range at Chelsea Piers and this was right up the kids alley.  For an hour they were able to “golf” while we caught up on life and all that has been going on.  When leaving, they had mentioned they had never been to the High Line, which was only a block or two over, so we headed there next.  It is such a cool urban park with food, things to do with the kids and beautiful views of the city.  After that we headed to Little Italy where we completely over-indulged at La Mela and made a visit to the cutest children’s boutique, Piccolini NY.  At this point in our trip we had stayed clear of Times Square but we all figured the kids would love the lights and craziness so we headed over there, only to unload the car and have a major thunderstorm surprise us, drench us and give us an excuse to all head home.  I have not laughed that hard in a long time.

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Thursday – Yankee Game, 5th Avenue

A Yankee game is where all the chatter about visiting New York began.  We even picked the week we went because they had a day game that would be easier to bring the kids to.  So, the boys got their Yankee game (the only bummer for them is that Jeter didn’t play!) and then the girls got to do some shopping on 5th Avenue.  I introduced Baby Girl to the shoe floor at Saks and she anxiously helped me try on shoes though she was disappointed I did not walk out with the jelly sandals.

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It amazes me how much of the city were were able to see in juts a few days without ever feeling like we were trying to do too much.  Between walking, the subway and a cab here or there, everything seems extremely close, which was one of the great things about staying in Midtown with kids.  On Friday we jumped on the train at Union Station and headed to Washington D.C to visit our friends and enjoy the weekend there.   I will share our fun adventures there soon.  I am sure you have had enough photos for now.

 

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Camping is definitely not my idea of vacation.  In all honesty, it simply involves too much work.  And on vacation, I don’t want to work.  I want to relax and enjoy myself, not clean dishes in a bucket and sleep on the ground in a tent.  Nope, just not for me.

Then our friend asked us to go “Glamping”.  Yes, official “glamorous camping”.  A place that we could tell the kids we are camping but the responsibilities of being an actual camper really does not add up to real camping.  I was told we would not have to cook a thing and that we would be sleeping inside a cabin.  Plus, we were  going to be a few steps from the beach.  I was in.

After a quick 2 1/2 hour drive to Santa Barbara up the 101, we arrived at El Capitan Canyon, a 300 acre+ resort nestled on the Pacific coast that provides a new way to enjoy nature with all the comforts we are not willing to sacrifice.  We went with two other families and had booked Canyon Bunk Cabins because we heard that they could sleep up to 6 (we were the big party of 5) and were located extremely close to the market/restaurant and beach.  When we arrived, we pulled into the resort and were directed to the cutest little village of cabins and tents with a large grass space in the center.  The perfect spot for parents to relax by a campfire and kids to run around like crazies, just like camping should be.  The cabins had two sets of bunk beds, full bathroom, kitchen area and a loft for two additional sleepers.  It was just enough space and lets remind you, I was sleeping in a bed with a down comforter!  No sleeping bag necessary!

Beyond the accommodations, El Capitan offered a market and restaurant where we would grab a morning latte and breakfast, order lunch for the beach and picked up pizzas for dinner.  The only thing we ever cooked were s’mores.  This was only steps from our cabins and made quick runs for snacks or additional food (or wine) extremely easy.  They had it all.  We spent our days at El Capitan State beach (just a quick walk down the road) and our evenings watching the kids play every sport possible while we sipped wine by the camp fire.  On Saturday night we attended the resort’s barbecue and concert which brought the entire resort together for an evening of good music and good food.  It was so much fun.

Glamping is definitely my kind of camping.

This past weekend was one of the best family getaways we have done and we all were sad to leave.  Going back is a no brainer.  The price is incredible, you cannot beat the beach side location and everything (from the accommodations, events and food) was done extremely well by the resort.  I may never go camping, but I will go to El Capitan Canyon.

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And because any time I am near Los Olivos, it is a must that we stop, we had lunch in my favorite small town on the way home.  It is only 25 minutes from El Capitan!  Even more reason to like the place.

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You can visit the El Capitan Canyon website here and preview all the accommodations available.  If you are thinking of going, make sure you book early.  I believe we booked our cabins in February for a June trip and the resort was almost sold out at the time!

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One of the greatest challenges of being pregnant is figuring out what to wear.  If you are anything like me, you will absolutely refuse maternity clothes for as long as you possibly can, determined to deliver your baby without the need for an elastic waistband and tent shirts.  I couldn’t deal with the maternity clothes I would see.  Through all three pregnancies I did my best to stay out of “Maternity” stores and shop with all the non-pregnant women but it got hard at times.  What I did not realize was that Xpecting Boutique was sitting pretty on 17th Street in Costa Mesa and could have made the entire maternity shopping experience SO MUCH BETTER.  My loss.

The good news is that Xpecting is beginning to transition.  What was known as THE maternity boutique is now becoming THE mom boutique.  Stephani Clymer, the owner of Xpecting Boutique, has two young sons of her own and realized that though she was helping women feel stylish and put together when they were pregnant but what happened next?  Once the baby has arrived, the moms were done being pregnant but had entered a world where comfort is key, quality is a necessity and style is something they did not want to sacrifice.  This is when Stephani realized that it was time to transition Xpecting from simply a maternity store to a lifestyle boutique for moms, regardless of which stage of motherhood they are in.  To make it easy, every tag lets you know if it is maternity or something that is not maternity.  See a pregnant woman on the tag alone?  Yep, that one is maternity.  See a pregnant woman standing next to a non-pregnant woman?  That is not maternity, though may work for some.  Genius idea isn’t it?

I am definitely done being pregnant but had such a wonderful time shopping the boutique, trying on a million items, all extremely comfortable, reasonably priced and easy closet staples for any mom.  Some of my favorites filled the store like Michael Stars and DL Denim, making it easy to pick up pieces to try on.  I took home some extremely versatile pieces that have now been placed on constant rotation.  I love that Xpecting is embracing the entire life of a mom, offering everything from maternity bras to dresses for a night out with the hubby sans kids.  For those who are expecting, you will find everything you need from those first few days of being pregnant to leaving the hospital.  For those who are not, you will love the merging of comfort and style, perfect for our days at school pick up, practices and the park.

You can visit Xpecting Boutique at 369 E. 17th Street #20, Costa Mesa, California.  If you are not local, Stephani is always posting photos of new merchandise on instagram and you can call her to order anything you are interested in at (949)574-2184.

Happy Mommy Shopping.

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Here is a look at some of the pieces I picked up by Fresh Laundry (shorts), Tart (sweater), and Luna California (wrap dress).  They are so easy to wear, go with everything and make for the perfect summer looks.  Thank you Xpecting Boutique for having me!

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The final stop of my retail therapy in Los Olivos was Waxing Poetic, a jewelry, charms, candles and housewares boutique.  You may have heard of Waxing Poetic as they has been mentioned in a number of publications and is not only available in their two boutiques (Los Olivos and Summerland) but also in numerous boutiques across the country.  The last time I was in Los Olivos they were in a different location so I was excited to visit the new store and of course, peruse all the dainty treasures.

When you enter the store, you immediately feel as if you are in someone’s living room.  Books line the walls, there is a beautiful writing desk and you are surrounded by intricately designed charms, jewelry, scarves and candles…just to name a few.  I found myself getting lost in the store as I immediately began thinking of all the sentimental gifts that I could pick up here.  Something for the bride, for your pregnant sister, your mother, a first communion.  Truly, they have embraced the moments of life and created opportunities for you to give something that is just not a gift but something that will be held on to forever.  I may have also started my own “wish list” for the hubby while I was inside.  As with all the boutiques I visited while in the valley, the customer service was phenomenal and even though I have discovered all the locations Waxing Poetic is available in Orange County, there is still something special about being in this store in Los Olivos.  It is a very special little place.


You can visit the Los Olivos boutique at 2477 Alamo Pintado Ave. or click here to find where Waxing Poetic is sold near you.  

I also recommend following them on Instagram and Facebook to keep up with their new pieces.


Nestled next door to my favorite coffee house in Los Olivos is Wendy Foster, a boutique that exudes classic sophistication with a relaxed country feel.  The walls are filled with art representing the Santa Ynez Valley while the tables and racks are filled with simple yet chic pieces that fit right into the Los Olivos lifestyle…or any lifestyle for that matter.  With designers such as Vince, Joie and Current Elliott alongside local designers such as Emily Rosendahl, there was just too much goodness in one place for me to handle.  The staff was extremely friendly and I had a wonderful time chatting with them while I shopped.  Just like I said with yesterday’s visit, I will definitely be back.      


Wendy Foster is located at 2928 San Marcos Ave., Los Olivos, Ca. with additional locations in Santa Barbara.  I highly suggest following their Instagram account to see all the new merchandise they receive, along with shots from their life in Los Olivos.   


A few months ago I began following the Plenty Boutique in Santa Ynez on Instagram and knew instantly that they were a “must stop” the next time I was up there.  The pieces they showcased and the travels they took gave me the sense that I was going to like this place.

It was better than I even expected!  I adore their ability to bring the ethereal and wonderlust feeling of the valley that I love so much into a beautiful boutique filled with all sorts of treasures.  It was a bohemian paradise.  Everywhere I looked their was something that caught my eye.  The boutique began from two friends who make their own jewelry and you could spend hours looking through every piece.  Racks are filled with Free People, Stone Cold Fox, J Brand, Bella Luxx and many other brands that share in the laid back yet sexy feel you often see in Orange County.  If you are not in the mood for clothes or jewelry, there are a number of bags, bath products, hats, scarves and numerous other accessories scattered throughout the boutique.  It was cozy, welcoming and fun to shop.  It was such a lovely experience and I will definitely be back.


Plenty Boutique is located at 1110 Faraday St., Santa Ynez. California.  
I highly suggest following them on Instagram and liking them on Facebook to preview their incoming merchandise and events. 

* No compensation was provided for this post.  When I see something I love, I want to share it!

It has been a while since we have had a day to do whatever we wanted as a family.  President’s Day gifted us with a day free of practices, school, work and games so we took advantage and headed down to one of our favorite spots, Laguna Beach.  Laguna has such a unique feel to it, unlike many of the beach cities here.  A little more laid back.  A little more eclectic.  It is definitely a place to recenter and enjoy some smiles with the kids.  We spent the day running on the beach, enjoying lunch at The Cliff and even though the clouds began to roll in, we weren’t going to miss shakes at the Ruby’s Shake Shack.

You can find some of our other Orange County favorites here.


One thing that I hate to do on my own and absolutely love to get done is my makeup.


Sure I can handle taking care of myself from day to day, but when an event comes up, the first thing I want to do is make an appointment to have my makeup done.  It just makes everything so much easier, allows me to be more adventurous with my look (I can only do so much on myself) and who doesn’t love getting a little pampered?  The only downfall of this is that I usually go to a department store to get it done and tend to walk out with products I would not normally use because, well, you are a tad bit obligated to purchase a few things.  Other times I have had someone come to the house but I am spending at least a $100, which can add up during event season.  

This is where Blushington comes in.


Blushington is a makeup and beauty lounge offering incredible services for even better prices.  I had heard this was opening up at Fashion Island but had yet to make a visit.  They invited Baby Girl and I in last Thursday and so we decided to see what Blushington was all about.

First things first.  The space is adorable.  Extremely feminine, fun and immediately gets you excited for a little beauty pampering.  Baby Girl felt instantly at home, and began eating cookies before we even knew what was happening.


For me, I had the option of numerous looks, depending on where I was off to.  I decided to look particularly glamorous for school pick up.  For Baby Girl, they offer a Sweet Pea package, allowing her to feel girlie with mommy while putting on a very minimal amount of makeup.  She still had to pick her look though and of course I was not at all shocked by the one that she picked.  I am in trouble…


We took our seats and it was time to start looking glam.



Thirty minutes later, DONE!



The entire staff at Blushington was extremely friendly. From Stephi, the Founder, to all the makeup artists, they made Baby Girl and I feel extremely welcomed and walked me through all that Blushington can offer.  Some of my favorites:

* The Full Face package – $40 and 30 minutes and I am ready for a night out on the town.

* The Sweet Pea package – I need my makeup done for an event and can I keep Baby Girl entertained for $10 with very little makeup applied?  No brainer.

* Teen Makeup Class – For $50 your teenager can sit with a makeup artist and learn how to properly apply makeup so that they look appropriate and boost confidence without being too made up.  The makeup artist will then do half their face and allow the young lady to do the other half, ensuring she knows how to do it herself!

* At Home Services – Many times my friends and I are running around like crazy people the day of an event due to our kids sports schedules.  Blushington will come to you and make the entire process of getting ready a little less stressful.  Who doesn’t love a little girl time prior to an event…especially when champagne can be involved?

* Makeup Series – If you find you can use this service numerous times, you can buy a package offering a certain number of makeup applications for a discounted rate.

This is really just a few items available but I recommend taking a look at all the services and classes offered.


Blushington has locations in Newport Beach, West Hollywood and Dallas.
For more information you can visit their website here.

And the big question.  Will I be back?
ABSOLUTELY.
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Every year, when January comes to a close, two realities set in.  The first is that baseball season has begun which means that for 5 months, we will be moving at 1,000 miles an hour, spending the majority of our time on a baseball field.  The second is that summer is only a few months away and it is time to start chatting about where we would like to go on vacation.

Vacation to some means just taking a break from life.  Hawaii and Mexico are standard destinations for many and are both amazing places to rest and regroup.  To me though, vacation is not just about taking a break from life but also about seeing the world and sharing it with my kids.

I absolutely love traveling with my kids.  To see their faces experience something they have never seen before is amazing.  Just like their parents, they have developed a love for big cities and we have a blast exploring new places together.  So far, their favorite vacations have been Chicago and Washington D.C., both ranked higher than Hawaii, which too many might seem crazy.  For them, not shocking.  And so, when asked where they would like to go this summer for vacation, the answer did not surprise us at all.

New York.

And so, New York we will go.

I can’t wait!

Here is the request list I have gathered from the kids (and perhaps myself) so far…
Yankee game
9-11 Memorial
a Broadway show
Natural History Museum
The Met

The amount of things to do in New York is endless so here is my question for all of you.  Have you been to and/or lived in New York with kids?  If so, what are we missing on the list?  Is there anything we must do while we are there with them?  Please share as all suggestions would be greatly appreciated! 

Have you thought about going anywhere this summer?  I would love to hear!