Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Weekend in Sedona, Arizona

This past weekend Hank and I celebrated our birthdays and anniversary with a weekend in Sedona at one of our favorite resorts, Amara! We brought along our littlest third wheel Olive and it was really fun spending time together, just us three. Each of the boys has had this kind of special time with Hank and me (Henry especially!) so it's always great to be able to do that with our littlest.

On a related note, when traveling we bring our Dockatot along for Olive and it's been such a wonderful thing. We recently picked up the travel bag and it's very handy- I recommend it for sure, especially if you plan on traveling a lot with your baby.

But yes, the weekend was so lovely- it was warm and pleasant, and we got tons of sunshine both days. We did a little hiking, some swimming, and enjoyed a lot of down time just hanging out. Amara is super pretty, and if you wanted to, you could just stay there and enjoy the property and restaurant. This time around we ventured out for a bit and did dinner at Elote (fantastic- just be sure to get there EARLY and get in line!), walked around and got some ice cream. It was fun to play tourist in a place we know so well.

Just like the last time we did a special stay with them they weren't asking for a blog post, but we love the resort so much I wanted to share a few things that we always love:

1. The location. It's in the heart of Sedona but you are still completely tucked away. You're surrounded by red rocks, the creek, and every bit of what makes Sedona truly special and absolutely beautiful. But at the same time you simply walk right up the hill and you're in the middle of shops and restaurants, little ice cream shops and great people watching. A perfect spot for both couples and families alike.

2. Salt Rock Kitchen. We elected to eat off site this time but the meal we had their a couple summers ago still stands out in my mind. Delicious!

3. The Spa. Oh my gosh, the spa! So many things to say about it. The whole experience there is top notch from the relaxation room before your service, to the actual service, to after. I got a one-hour relaxation massage from Julie and it was excellent- one of the best I've ever had and if you head up to Amara this is a must!

4. The extras. Kimpton properties are some of my favorites because they always go above and beyond. A few things I really love about Amara in particular: the free yoga classes, the beds (!!), and the beautiful decor.

5. Summer packages. Although this visit was complimentary, Hank and I have stayed there multiple other times, and have also taken advantage of their fantastic summer rates. Seriously, jump on their specials right now and book a weekend away in the cool(er) weather. So worth it.

We're already counting down to our next trip, we just love it. Thank you Amara for hosting us!


ps. outfit details--

Olive's headband
Popsicle blanket
Black floral dress
My floral culottes
Striped top
White slides

Our hotel stay was complimentary, but all opinions are my own. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Olive and Me, Sedona Edition

This past weekend Hank, Olive and I spent a couple days in the red rocks of Sedona. More on the trip tomorrow, but I wanted to share some photos Hank snapped of Olive and me on the backside of the Amara Resort and Spa. It makes me immeasurably happy to look at these- it's almost a "pinch me" kind of thing to be holding my sweet girl, after wishing for her for so long. The boys and I are over the moon for this baby, and she's such a lucky little girl to grow up with the love of so many wonderful people in her life.

I treasure these photos because it's a snapshot of us right now- me, 35 years old and Olive 3 months old. I love to look back at photos of my Mom and me when I was a baby and I'm enthralled. What was my Mom like back then? I love looking at what she's wearing and what I'm wearing, where we are and hearing the stories of why we were there. So I hope with all of my kiddos I can give them that kind of documentation they'll love to look back at one day, but I think it's particularly special with a mother and daughter.

So, here are those photos of us from our weekend. And I got a few questions about my outfit on IG too- you can find my top here, my pants here, and my sandals here. And Olive's bow can be found here. I've also been shooting with this camera exclusively for the past few weeks and that's what these photos were taken with.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Five Things I've Loving For Summer

Summer is almost here and I've been "window shopping" online a bit more than usual. I think it has something to do with getting back to my normal self after having a baby...or at least beginning to. It's taken me at least a year with each boy to really feel like "me" again, and even then it's a new version of myself! But in the meantime it's fun to pick out some new cute things to spruce up my wardrobe with a new season. I'm still practicing the new thing in, old thing out rule, so *usually* whenever I add something I really love to my closet I'll give away or sell something old that no longer serves me! This keeps me in a check a bit and helps me avoid my previous issues of keeping EVERYTHING and having an extremely overgrown closet. You can read more about that here and here. When I do sell my clothing though I do it here, so follow along if you're interested.

Anyway, here are the five things I'm loving for this summer! Enjoy, and I hope you find at least one new thing to love too!

1. A good pair of slides.

The ones pictured above are my go to, and you can find them here (30% off too!). These are the easiest way to make an outfit a little cuter and a little more comfortable too. I always wear these when I'm just running around (or camping, post-hike, post-workout, etc!) but for a dressier look there are so many cute ones out right now to choose from. Try these or these (on sale!) and check these out too. And these are a more affordable version of my faves.

2. Non-skinny jeans.

Think boot cut, relaxed with a step hem, you name it. My most favorite pair come from Madewell, but I also love this pair, and these also- both 40% off right now.

3. A pretty white dress.

White dresses are my favorite and there are so many to choose from. It's funny, when I was in college and an active Pi Phi, we always had to wear white dresses for Preference Night each year during rush. That was 2000-2004 and it was very difficult to find cute white dresses. Now, they're all over the place! Some of my favorites: one, two, and three. Or get a jumpsuit version here!

4. A pair of statement sunglasses.

I've been wearing the same pair of sunglasses for years- either these cheapies or these nicer ones, but a few months ago I switched over to a different shape and I'm really happy. Valley Eyewear makes some of my favorites- the DB version is the best. Other options- here and here.

5. Jumpers!

I have always loved a good jumper but this year it's all I want to wear. They're so comfortable and easy for nursing- I just look for those that can slip easily off the shoulder or unbutton. I have SO many favorites but here are my top five: one, two, three, four, and five.

Happy shopping!


Monday, May 22, 2017

Video: Family Camping at Gold Bar Ranch

It's Monday and we're back on the grid after camping this past weekend. We headed out not too far from our house- about an hour's drive- to Gold Bar Ranch. It was our first time there and it was the cutest place. They have a campground that backs up to a Hassayampa River-fed pond/lake complete with a rope swing and dock. It's the ideal place for a big group and that's exactly what we had- 9 families, 18 adults and 25 kids! There are places for RVs, tents, and even a bunk house right on site that's perfect if you don't want to rough it, if you have a newborn like us, or just feel like "glamping" rather than camping!

One of my best buds Veronica's family owns the best restaurant in Prescott and brought along their catering gear so we were super spoiled with food the entire weekend. Two families split each meal, so we didn't have to worry about bringing food for every meal ourselves, which was the best. We brought paddleboards and kayaks, and a ton of float toys! The water was cold but so refreshing in the 80+ degree sunshine. During the day we swam, rode quads and the razors, the kids dug in the dirt and worked on creating moats, and we all just kicked back and soaked it up. At night we roasted marshmallows and drank wine by the fire while the kids ran around with glowsticks, and on the second night we brought out the projector and did a movie and popcorn evening for them. Even though camping is not always the easiest with super small kids, this was such a successful trip and I think it was made even easier having such a big group. All of the little ones were kept busy with each other so the adults could relax, even if only for little moments at time! ;) And my best advice, babywear! There really is no other way with such a tiny baby (at least for me), and it made it a lot easier than having her in a pack 'n play and always worrying if was dusty near her, bugs, whatever. I used the Ergobaby Adapt (you don't need an infant insert with this one) and it was fantastic.

Last night I put together a fun little video with GoPro footage for our friends, and I thought I would share it here too. You can also check out the camera I used here- I highly recommend it! I love doing videos like this- it always looks like a lot of work in retrospect, but takes less than an hour to quickly put together all of the little clips...and it's so nice having the fun memories to look back on.



Sunday, May 21, 2017

Weekend Links

Happy Sunday! We spent the weekend off the grid camping and it was SO nice. I started these links on Friday before we left and wanted to pop in and finish them quickly before I head to bed. I'll be back tomorrow with a ton of photos and a video from our adventure though, so stay tuned!


I've received quite a few questions on my jumper up there- you can find it here!

You can also grab Olive's bow here, her pants here, and the rug here.

6 steps to set boundaries between your work and personal life.

Words that breathe life into the little girls around you.

I love these mini mottos.

The safest age to give kids a cell phone, via Bill Gates.

16 reads for summer.

And one delicious drink for summer.

Loving this post from Chelsea- I think I may do this for my birthday next week!

Wishlist: this jumpsuit, these easy pants, and this dress.

And just look at this dream of a gorgeous dress! Love.

Also on the topic of wishlists, I am really loving all of Madewell's new totes.

10 ways children seem to be acting "bad" but aren't.

To stay married, embrace change.

A very interesting read about Emmanual Macron and his wife.

This book is next on my reading list.

Loving this line of cute bikinis. And every single one of these suits are so cute.

Skin care tweaks to try now.

Some foodie books to add to your list.

Need a new hat for summer? These are all so good. And how about any of these straw bags? All prices, all kinds! I'll take one of each. ;)

Did you catch my recent hiking post? If you're in Arizona you need to check out that trail.

7 life-changing truths.

I've been pinning a little more than usual lately- see them all here.

And finally, read this article about minimalism.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Lesson from my Mom

Beauty is a funny thing. My idea of what is beautiful has changed so many times over the years, at least when we're talking about what's on the outside. This past weekend I was talking with my friend Morgan, who actually took the photo above, about cancer. About how it's relevant to my family again, and about how much I hate it, and about how I will never ever understand the whys of such a terrible thing. We got on the subject of breast cancer, because both of our mothers are survivors. And we talked about beauty, and about the BRCA test, and what we would do if we were to test positive.

As a woman, and I'm speaking to my own experience here, our ideas of beauty are often tied to how we look, how we feel. Growing up I can remember carrying around a CoverGirl compact in the back pocket of my Levis. I was in 7th grade and pulling that out and powdering my nose made me feel beautiful. Later in college we would all get dressed up in our flouncy little skirts, tank tops and wedges, and spend hours putting on makeup. MAC eyeshadow and lip gloss, Victoria's Secret glitter body lotion and perfume. This was what we did to feel beautiful. Then at 22 I started getting tattooed because owning my body, putting things on it, that made me happy, that was beautiful to me...and it still is.

In my early twenties my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. It came in like a tornado, quick and fast, and overnight it felt as if she was suddenly in the operating room, getting a double mastectomy. At the time this seemed so crazy to me- breasts were everything right? Somewhere along the line I had been taught that breasts meant femininity, they meant sexy, they meant beauty. And now my Mom's were gone. The cancer was in one breast, and my Mom elected to have both removed, as a precautionary measure. And she was one of the lucky ones. She had the surgery, she recovered, and then she called me one afternoon, asking- "Do you want my bras? I won't need them again." She had decided against reconstruction.

As parents we're always teaching our children, even when we don't realize we are. I don't think my Mom's decision to forgo breast reconstruction was a conscious teachable moment in her mind then, but now as a Mom myself, that's all I see. In that decision she taught me that beauty is not our breasts. Or our stomachs. Or our legs, arms, or faces. Truly. And it's beyond all of the clich├ęs about beauty being skin deep, it's far past all of that. My Mom told me in that moment, "I don't give a fuck. I am a woman. I am beautiful. And I get to make my own definition of what that means." That's powerful. What that said to me, especially as a twenty-something who was still figuring out who I even was, was that I have the power to create my own idea of femininity and beauty, and then allow myself to accept that as my own truth. And what that says to me now, as a thirty-something still on the path to self-acceptance, is that it's okay to be exactly who I am, because that authenticity, that truth, that is beauty.

This post was originally shared in this space, a year ago. Today I am sharing it again in collaboration with a group of amazing bloggers that I love and admire. It's a project called Together We Mother. You can see the previous posts here! Also be sure to check out all of the women's blogs below.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mother's Day Hiking with Crocs

Post sponsored by Zappos:

This past weekend was Mother's Day and the biggest thing on my list was to spend the day outside with my family. Forget the fancy brunch, flowers, whatever...give me all the homemade cards and kid-made jewelry, and take me on a hike. And that's exactly what we did.

One of my favorite places to hike in Sedona is West Fork. It's beautiful in every season, but spring is especially pretty with all of the green! This time around we brought the boys' new Crocs Swiftwaters. Believe it or not we have never owned a pair, so I was a little skeptical about how these would hold up from land to water and back out again. Because of this the boys actually hiked in wearing their regular shoes. Once we got to the water they slipped on the Crocs (so easy to get on themselves) and got to playing. And much to my surprise they worked perfectly well both in the water, gripping to the sometimes slippery rocks, and then back out, hiking all the way back to the car. I'm a new Crocs believer and the boys were SO excited about these shoes.

I've worked with Zappos many times before in this space and absolutely love them. They have the best customer service, super fast shipping, and easy returns. The boys and I had such a good time picking out the exact shoes they wanted, and as a mama, I'm SO happy with them too. Like I mentioned above the Crocs Swiftwaters are easy for them to put on themselves, comfy, lightweight...and they held up beautifully on our 2 hour hike out through numerous creek crossings, dirt, mud, you name it. 

Parents, you NEED these shoes for you and your little ones' summer adventures. They come in adult sizes too, and I would choose this pair for myself. And Hank has these Crocs on his list too. You can see all of Zappos Crocs (seriously, such a huge selection) here as well.

**note: in the review for the boys' Crocs Swiftwaters on the Zappos site the one review mentioned having issues with sizing. For us, these were very true to size and worked right out of the box.

Happy almost-summer and here's to a ton of fun adventures!