Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Santa Monica Pier

We're still recovering from our travels to Los Angeles with two small children, but we had a blast and can't wait to go back (maybe without the kids or when they are a little older). Traveling on a plane with little ladies who are not fond of sitting still is rough, y'all!

Traveling to a different timezone is rough too. Jet lag + long car drives (hello! LA traffic) meant my girls took many naps in the car. Completely acceptable when it gives momma a chance to relax in the parking lot while the little ones sleep.

This trip was all about the wedding (my sister-in-law got married to a great man that my oldest daughter just adores), but we still had plenty of time to explore the city and eat lots of great food. Seriously, LA has some super delicious restaurants. You might have to search for the good ones (I think there are more restaurants than there are people), but Esther from Adventures with Esther & Jacob has a fantastic list to start you out.

I'll give details about our eating adventures in California next week. Esther's list definitely came in handy and one of the restaurants we dined in was unexpectedly featured in Food Network Magazine this month. We're so on trend. Lol.

Before stuffing our bellies with that trendy restaurant, we drove to the beach… which I could have lived without. This was our second time to the Santa Monica pier. The first time was a couple years ago, in the fall. The summer season brought lots of tourist, as expected, but also lots of trash on the beach. I was not a fan.

Neither was little bit. Ellington, on the other hand, had a blast. We only coaxed her to leave the beach by offering up a trip to the amusement park on the pier. She had a blast riding rides as well. As we stood in line for the ferris wheel, I had a brief second where I thought we just might be crazy for taking our 1 year old and 3 year old on a rusty old ferris wheel. Once we all jumped in an saw the amazing views, I knew it was worth it. Winsley didn't really appreciate the awesomeness (we later discovered that she had been sick the entire weekend… oops), but Ellington requested 5 more rides on the ferris wheel. She is definitely my little adventure seeker.

You were good to us, LA. We will surely be back to enjoy all that Los Angeles has to offer and continue eating our way through California. Any suggestions for food or fun around LA are welcomed and encouraged!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A First Aid Kit: Travel Edition

In a few days, my little family will be headed across the country to celebrate the wedding of my sister-in-law. We are all super excited, but I am also dreading the packing process.

Can somebody else just come over and make sure we have packed every single thing we may need? I just know I will forget something essential, like the girls' flower girl dresses.

With a 1 year old and a 3 year old, my packing list is about a mile long. Oh yeah, and we are flying… normally this would be a welcomed change, but I'm so not looking forward to being inside a small space with 2 crazy girls that don't always act like little angels in public. Plus, how am I suppose to pack everything we need into 2 pieces of luggage?! No, really. How?

I figured I would start with something easy and work my way up to packing our main luggage. Without a home base, we will need a stash of first aid items to help mend little boo-boos and soothe tiny tears.

Many of these items are not needed for everyone's travel first aid kit, but they are essential for our travels. Purell and wet wipes are a must for anybody traveling with small children, as are tissues. My oldest has eczema that randomly flares up, so we always travel with some sort of hydrocortisone cream and a thick lotion. Another essential that every parent should carry while traveling is a thermometer and children's tylenol. I have too many extra thermometers from buying one while traveling because somebody gets a fever. I also always throw in adult tylenol because momma always gets a headache while traveling.

Last, but certainly not least, band-aids and neosporin. BONUS: Band-aids can double as stickers to occupy restless toddlers on long plane rides.

Now that that's done… I guess it's time to stop procrastinating and start packing all of our clothes. So many clothes.


Monday, June 30, 2014

Working with Brands | Using your Social Media Influence

For the past year, I have been dipping my toes into the 'sponsored post' waters. There are several different sites dedicated to connecting bloggers with brands, but I am particularly fond of Influenster.com because you don't have to be a blogger to participate in the campaigns and you don't really even have to put any effort into it if you really don't feel like it.

I am an overachiever when it comes to Influenster, so I try to complete all of the 'task' they give you. It's all simple stuff, like leaving a review (good or bad) and instagraming a product photo. Just another way for brands to get their name or new product out there and create a little social media buzz. You only get paid in products (which is kinda great, in my opinion).

The photo about is from my latest Influenster package. This one has got to be my favorite to date! Seriously, who doesn't want TWO free tubs of Breyers Gelato?!

From the top left (clockwise):

  1. Avon Anew Reversalist Wrinkle smoother: I don't have many wrinkles (yet), but I do like how this cream has made my skin feel. Smooth and silky. Has it reduced wrinkles? Eh. I don't know. I'm not really a makeup person & I honestly don't study my face enough to really know whether this has made a difference.
  2. Breyers Gelato: Does this really need a review? I don't think I've ever met a bad gelato. My favorite was the triple chocolate gelato. Delicious!
  3. Shell Fuel Rewards Card: This was a welcomed surprise. I have been a long time member of a different rewards program for a competing gas station. Not that I want another card to add to my wallet, but I was hoping the more convenient gas stations would jump in the reward card game.
  4. Ivory Soap: Bar soap does not get a lot of use in our house, but I am super eager to try some fun experiments with this soap bar. I'm thinking microwaving our little bar of soap will be the first step and then maybe making soap crayons.
  5. Neosporin Neo To Go: Any parent knows that this is an incredibly useful addition to the diaper bag during skinned knee season. We have already gotten lots of use out of it. It sprays neosporin and dries almost immediately, so there is no greasiness afterwards. My 3 year old can even spray it on her boo-boo all by herself. 
  6. Puffs to Go: No diaper bag is complete without a pack of tissues. I really didn't know the value of always having tissues on hand until I had kids. The summer cold season and the winter cold season and the spring allergies and the fall runny nose weather… point is, a little nose always needs a tissue!
I got all of these product for FREE! You can sign up with or without a blog and wait to get your own free products to try.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Trip to the Strawberry Patch

Last week we had a little fun picking strawberries and even more fun filling our bellies. Our trip was not without toddler tantrums and strawberry stained clothes, but we still left happy with lots of strawberries.

Winsley ate half her weight in strawberries right there in the field. That's the real  reason to pick your own strawberries, right?
We ended up with a few bruised strawberries and I will definitely go earlier in the season next time to get the best of the batch (This is the last week for strawberry picking in our area).
It is truly a joy to share this experience with my little ladies and I am so happy that we live so close to so many farms. We even discovered that this very farm (Page Farms) will be growing blackberries soon.

My tummy is already growling with anticipation.
What grows in abundance where you live? I am so eager to check out other farms in our area after discovering that blueberry season starts next month!

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