Salt Lake City Holiday Family Staycation // City Creek Center

11282017

This past week our family was able to kick off the holiday season with a little staycation in downtown Salt Lake City, UT. I have been feeling a bit disconnected as a family these past few months due to my Dad’s health, which has had me traveling to and from Seattle to be with him, so some family time was something we were all needing. There’s nothing I love more than being with my family, away from everyday distractions, and getting to spend quality time together.

I love staycations because they’re a great reminder that you don’t have to go far from home to still feel like you’re on a full fledged vacation. Spending a night or two in a nearby hotel for a weekend can be just the ticket to rest and relaxation for the whole family, and it’s all without the hassle and cost of travel time. Grand or not, most hotels offer amenities that can feel like luxuries, such as swimming pools (and hot tubs), game rooms, cable television subscriptions, fine dining and more. Plus who doesn’t want some time off from making the bed, washing and folding loads of towels, and emptying the garbage. I know I do! We stayed at the Hilton Salt Lake City Center and it not only offered several of the amenities I mentioned, but also is located in the best spot to enjoy the shopping, dining and sites in and around City Creek Center. And a major added bonus since it is a pet friendly hotel, we were able to bring along our little pup Bella who loves nothing more than being with us ALL the time.

After we checked in to our room and everyone claimed their sleeping spots we headed off to City Creek Center which is located just a short jaunt away from our hotel. And of course we brought Bella with us, because we could! Did you know City Creek Center allows dogs? They don’t only allow them, they encourage shoppers to bring their pets to their mall. Even supplying doggy clean up bags (which came in very handy for us..that might be a story for later ha!) and offering treats to pets who visit their customer service desk. Liliana was so excited to be able to bring her pup Bella along with her into all of her favorites shops including American Girl and the Disney Store!

City Creek Center is absolutely beautiful this time of year that it immediately got all of us into the holiday spirit and jumpstarted our Christmas shopping. There is so much to see and do around City Creek, especially during the holidays. The candy windows at Macy’s are unreal and a sight to be seen. They have the best stores for everyone of all ages and dining too! We enjoyed the most wonderful dinner at the Nordstrom Grill, Sixth & Pine and finished off the evening by watching the holiday fountain show which played to fun festive tunes and included some surprise fire that had all of us mesmerized.

We started the next morning off with the most wonderful treat for our family. A Breakfast at Tiffany’s! We were fortunate to have the store to ourselves all while we enjoyed the most delectable meal. While we ate we were given a short rundown of the history of Tiffany & Co and it captivated all of us! Truly a wonderful and such a prevalent company that has played a big part in our country’s history. And while we all browsed and marveled at their beautiful products Bella ran around the store like she had finally made it home! They welcomed her there as well, even letting her model one of their new home line items.. a dog collar and charm. They were so sweet to Liliana as well. She even got to wear some pretty pearls and Audrey Hepburn sunglasses for fun! I think the biggest thing that I want to pass along about Tiffany’s is that they really do have gifts that are affordable for everyone. I think often times there is a stigma surrounding their company as being “over the top” and I can completely see where that assumption can come from. Because they do have incredibly exquisite and expensive items, but they also have items that make perfect gifts starting at $50. And to top it off, no matter what you purchase it always comes wrapped up for you in that pretty little Tiffany Blue (which is the only patented color ever, did you know that?) box all ready to give to your loved one, friend, or neighbor.

After a little rest at the hotel and some lunch it was time for my little ones + Bella to have a visit with Santa. Yes, I said Bella! City Creek Center is part of Santa Paws, so every Tuesday through December 12th, 2017 you can bring your dog in to have a visit with Santa and sit on his lap for their own photo with him. Or you, or your children, or both can be in it too. Whatever you choose. Liliana was so happy to get to have Bella visit with Santa because now Santa will for sure know what she wants for Christmas. I especially love how City Creek Center has their Santa set up inside of a beautiful lantern. It adds just the perfect touch of whimsical magic to your Santa visit.

I think one of the greatest things about a staycation is the flexibility that they offer. It allowed for my bigger kids and husband to bounce in and out of hanging out with us as they still had some work commitments. It was also incredibly convenient to be staying so close to City Creek because when someone needed a break or if we needed to take Bella back to our room (so we could eat at a restaurant) we were easily able to do so.

If you’re local (in all of Utah and southern Idaho I’m talking to you too) to Salt Lake City and are looking for a quick break from your everyday routine, we highly recommend a staycation at the Hilton Salt Lake City Center in the downtown area near City Creek Center. It really can be a perfect way to remind yourself what’s best about the Holiday season: family time, shopping for loved ones gifts (because nothing beats giving), visiting Santa, the cozy days, and all those opportunities to lie back and put your feet up by the fire. And the best part? Your staycation will feel like a full vacation at a fraction of the price.

 

Photos By Samantha Broderick

 

This post is sponsored by City Creek Center. All opinions are my own.

Mudroom Before & After

11252017

mudroom miko bowen

I thought I would finally share the before and afters of our mudroom renovation we did a few months ago. While I was shooting these pictures for this post Liam came outside and asked if he could take some photos of me sitting in here. I obliged, and now one of his shots is heading this post ;). Anyhow, it’s about time I start getting my goals accomplished since it is nearing the end of the year. In typical last minute fashion for me as one of my biggest goals for this year was to blog more and to have all of our home renovation before and afters up before the end of the year.. so I’m kind of hitting crunch time!

For as long as I can remember I have alllllllways wanted and dreamed of having a mudroom. Especially when we had all six kids living at home! Oh what a dream it would have been then… and it’s still a dream even though it’s a reality for me now! This room was the very first space I walked into when I knocked on the door to this home to inquire about purchasing it. I immediately fell in love with the fact that this home had a mudroom and started dreaming up visions pretty much right away of what I wanted to do with it! I knew I wanted it to not only look really great, but more than that I wanted it to function well for all of us.

I was (and am) so grateful to have this space, but it really didn’t make me feel great anytime I stepped into it. It needed some good storage and a serious facelift. I could see it’s potential and knew it could be so much better than it appeared. So without further ado.. welcome to our new and much improved mudroom!

From the moment I set eyes on this cement tile pattern I knew it was what I wanted for our mudroom. It was definitely a splurge for us. But since this is the entry most of our friends + our kids friends use and as it’s also the main throughway to our backyard I really wanted it to represent our style and home. When I showed Will this tile he immediately agreed with me and we jumped. This was our first time ever using cement tile and boy did we learn a lot.

While handmade encaustic cement tile is truly stunning it is also a bit more, dare I say “a pain” to work with, install, and live with. Now let me back up a minute. I say a pain, but only in the sense of the learning curve. Once I realized that cement tile can be compared to marble for a countertop I knew we had made the right choice for us, for our home, and for our style. We LOVE marble. In fact everyone who has ever come into our homes contractor wise has always shunned marble and tried to get us to not install it in our home. But both Will and I love it. We love how timeless it is, how it ages, and how it feels + looks. Yes, it takes more work. Yes it can etch. And yes it wears and ages. But have you ever walked the streets of our nations capital and looked around you? There’s marble, marble everywhere. Marble that’s been there for hundreds of years and marble that still looks beautiful and has stood the test of time in both function and design. Whoa.. I just went off on a bit of a tangent, sorry about that!

With all of that said, cement tile has the same timeless, aging feel and look. It is and can be a bit more delicate (in the sense of chipping and wear) and does need some more prep work prior to installing (it needs several coats of sealer plus a grout release before grouting can be done), but no more than our forever favorite marble. For instance on our stairs our tile installer suggested we not butt the tiles up to each other edge to edge for fear of the tile chipping away. He suggested we use a pencil rail to buffer the edges of the tile and save it from chipping. And of course since our tile guy Glen knows us, our taste, and style in and out he showed up with a marble pencil rail one day and it couldn’t have been more perfect! It not only ties in the marble we carry throughout our home, but also serves it’s function of rounding the stair edge and saving the tiles from chipping!

Here’s a few more before and afters from the same angles just because I love seeing them when others share theirs and it really helps you see the changes that were made so much better! And a huge shout out to our carpenter Mike who was able to take all of my crazy ideas and make every single one of them a reality in this space. He literally customized all of the woodwork in here from the extra moulding detail to the rounded but also slightly detailed corbels holding the shelf. Basically he pulled my visions of this space from my brain and made it happen in real life. Also, sources for everything we used from paint and grout color to the magnetic brass door stops are linked and shared below. Tell me do you like our mudroom before or after? Leave me a comment letting me know! xoxo, Miko

Sources: Tile // Grout // Marble Pencil Rail // Paint – Benjamin Moore Advance (Satin sheen on all trim and doors, Eggshell on the walls and Flat on the ceiling) // Doormat // Brass Door Stops // Coat Hooks // Ceiling Light // Round Wicker Basket

Custom Woodwork by: Mike McAuliffe

Painting by: Jose from Painter Bros of Davis & Weber County

Ziraffe Childrens Store – Feature

10182017

I’ve been wanting to start sharing some features more in this space and thought it would be fun to start off with a great little online shop – Ziraffe. One of the best things I’ve gained from blogging and Instagram is finding small shops who I would have never most likely happened upon.

Ziraffe is a children’s shop carefully curated by two Moms living in California, Yunyi and Katie. Friends for years whose goal is to bring together a collection of brands and artisans that embody their love for minimalism, fun, and chic design. Their view on minimalism is pretty much my favorite. “Minimalism doesn’t just mean simple; it’s not a reduction of style. It means the details and aesthetics are refined, and very well thought out. It’s the fundamental concept of “Less is More.”” How cool is that?

Another thing I love about Ziraffe is that they promote practices that are fair and try to avoid carrying any products that have harmful chemicals or dyes because fair trade and sustainability are vital to their company. They also promote sustainability and a sense of connection through the Ziraffe LovedBy_Community™. It’s a platform where you can buy and sell previously loved children’s clothes within a trusted community. This allows people to pass along their favorite children’s clothes and follow the journey that great clothes take from one family to another. You can read more and find out how to join it here.

ziraffe doen featureziraffe feature sunset

Liliana’s dresses are from a premium children’s fashion label from Taiwan called Once. Yunyi shared with me all about the Designer of Once, Vicky, who graduated from Central Saint Martin in London and had been a fashion designer for quite some time before starting Once.

“For this current season, she drew inspiration from La Belle Et La Bête – The 1946 French film of Beauty and The Beast. The entire collection is romantic, magical and fun. I’ve seen a lot of gorgeous girls dresses before, but the dresses from this collection really blew me away. When I first saw them last summer in Paris, I was in LOVE! And secretly wished I had a little girl.” ~From Yunyi about Once

The detail and quality of the dresses was obvious from the minute I pulled them out of the package. And what makes them even more special is that I know Yunyi has a personal relationship with the vendor behind the dresses because she strives to get to know each and every vendor before they carry their products in their shop. Truly, a love and passion for quality and getting to know all about the products they sell. And there’s nothing more I love than supporting small businesses who are genuine and driven by passion. Check out Ziraffe and fall in love like I have.

 

 

Beautiful photos by Samantha Broderick

 

Back to School Tips – KEEN Kids Giveaway

09122017

back to school tips

I don’t know about you, but Back to School really snuck up on me this year. I felt like I needed another month or so of summer.. or at least a few more weeks. I think I was feeling a little sentimental and refusing to accept the fact that our youngest was heading to first grade. Which means she’s now gone all day, and I’m no longer a Mom at home with young kids. Ahh.. big changes and shifts that I like and don’t like all at once. Anyhow, now that school has been back in session for a couple of weeks I thought I would share a few tips and tricks that help make being back in school a little easier around here.

back to school - routine

1. Establish a Routine

To make the transition easy on both you and your kids school schedule start establishing a bedtime routine at least a week before heading back to school. That means bedtime earlier so you can get up earlier as well. Lay out clothes + shoes for the next day, as well as gather any items (soccer cleats, ballet leotard etc.) that they may need for any after school activities or extra curricular’s they have the next day. That way they are prepared not only for their upcoming school day but after school as well!

back to school - homework station

2. Set up a Homework station

Help your kids stay organized and on top of their homework by creating an area in your home where they have all they need to stay focused and on task. We use a basket for homework packets that are sent home at the beginning of the week and not turned in until the end. As well as any papers that may need signatures or notes to be read by a parent. We have a small caddy full of everything they need to complete their homework assignments; pencils, erasers, scissors, glue sticks, colored pencils, markers, crayons etc. on the same shelf as well so it’s all easily accessible. Another caddy with extra supplies and a basket to hold library books (so they’re not lost or forgotten each week) finish off our simple homework station.

back to school tip - snack drawer

3. Create a Self-Serve Snack / Easy Breakfast Drawer

We have always tried to adopt the idea that children feel empowered when they can serve and help themselves. By creating a snack drawer you not only do just that but also help your kids develop a healthy relationship with food. We keep different types of bars, from protein to granola, and instant oatmeal in ours. That way they can help themselves to their own healthy breakfast, a quick after school snack or add one to their lunches.

4. Make Packing Lunches Easy

We love having easy to pack lunch items on hand for our kids to help in or fully pack their own lunches. Things like pre hard boiled eggs, yogurt tubes and individually packed portions of turkey breast are perfect easy proteins. Squeeze pouches of fruits + vegetables or petite sized fresh fruits are also great for smaller appetites and ensure less waste. Tip: We love to freeze our yogurt tubes and pack them frozen in lunches. By the time lunch rolls around they’re perfectly cold and have kept the rest of the lunch chilled as well.

back to school - keen hikeport

5. Wear Good Shoes! Seriously!

One of my most favorite and fond memories growing up was my annual trip to the department store with my Dad for new school shoes. He was, and still is a firm believer that wearing good shoes as a growing child makes all the difference! And I’ve adopted the same feelings. There is nothing better than finding a good solid shoe that is comfortable, supportive, easy for my kids to take on and off, plus super fun and stylish on top of it!

KEEN Kids is known for it’s great summer sandals and is the “go-to” summer camp and adventure footwear brand for the whole family. As seasons change and families transition to fall and back to school, KEEN Kids offers a great functional and quality product for that transition time. We love KEEN Kids shoes because they check off all of our requirements from above, work perfectly for both school + play and can be styled with a variety of outfits. See below for some outfit inspiration featuring KEEN Kids Moxie in both the Moxie Flat and Moxie Mary Jane styles for girls. And the Hikeport +  Jasper styles for boys. All styles my kids have, wear everyday, and LOVE! 

Best back to school shoes - keen


We’re so happy to team up with a great group of bloggers to share lots of KEEN styles for kids AND an awesome giveaway. TEN lucky winners will receive a pair of KEEN shoes for school (select from New Arrivals). Please enter using the Rafflecopter below.

Don’t forget to visit all of the participating blogs too! They all have KEEN shoe styles to share as well as great tips and ideas for school:

The Chirping Moms // Wanderlust Crew // Suburban Wife, City Life // Girl in the Red Shoes //Marino Bambinos // The Love Designed Life // Momfessionals // Munchkins and Moms // Being Brickner // Thrifty Nifty Mommy

Giveaway: Enter using the form below

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Indoor Pool House Renovation – Before and After

09102017

indoor pool house door

Our indoor pool house renovation is finally complete and I couldn’t wait any longer to share it! From the very first moment I walked into our pool house I knew immediately that I wanted to paint it. In fact one of the very first things we did when we moved in just over 2 years ago was purchase paint for the walls and floors…

Well fast forward 2 years later.. and it still looked the same as the day we moved in. For some reason I started second guessing my original vision for this space and couldn’t quite pull the trigger on painting it. I was worried that we would be erasing some sort of history and possibly miss the quirky and somewhat Wes Anderson feel of the bright avocado green and aqua walls. Until one day we received a knock on our door and standing in front of us was the original owners son. He was 9 when his Dad finished building our home and now much older was in town with his kids + grandkids and really wanted to show them all where he grew up.

We happily invited him in and proceeded to learn some amazing history about our home and property. When it came time to view and talk about the pool house my very first question was if the paint was original. He answer was NO! I was so happy to hear that and it gave me the confirmation I needed to feel really good about my original vision for this space. We also learned that the pool house was completed around 1957 and that all of the amazing wood planks and beams that cover the ceiling are original. He told us that every. single. one. was hand sanded and then stained before they put them up. Just hearing him talk about all of it I knew it was a huge labor of love. I was so touched by that and also so happy because I had never wanted to paint or touch the ceiling. I had a feeling it was original (as are the 1950’s schoolhouse lights hanging from the ceiling) and wanted it’s beauty to shine more by toning down the walls and floors. Here are the before photos:

1950's indoor pool house before

When it came time to paint we realized that the paint we had originally purchased a couple years ago to paint the walls with was no longer good, nor the right type of paint for the space. Since our pool is indoors it can get quite humid and we wanted a paint that would withstand moisture as well as cover the dark current colors on the walls as well. After some research we decided that the best option for paint would be Sherwin Williams Emerald Interior paint. Here’s why:

  • Emerald Interior Paint is a paint and primer in one with advanced stain-blocking technology.
  • Emerald Interior Paint hides stains and covers dark colors for a beautiful, smooth finish and stunning color for years to come.
  • Emerald Interior Paint provides exceptional coverage and advanced washability in all finishes, with outstanding resistance to water streaking and spotting.
  • Emerald Interior Paint also contains anti-microbial agents that inhibit the growth of mold and mildew on the paint surface.
  • Emerald Interior Paint meets the most stringent VOC regulations.

Basically Emerald paint by Sherwin Williams had every single thing covered that we were concerned about!

Once we knew what paint we would be using it was time to choose a color. I knew I wanted to paint the walls a white and the floor a gray-ish color. But if anyone knows white paint you know it is not that easy to just choose white. There are quite possibly a million different colors (shades) of white paint. And white paints read completely differently in different spaces. Thankfully since we use a lot of white paint around here I had several samples laying around so we were able to test the ones I was debating between. I knew I didn’t want a stark white, but more of a white that was ever so slightly warm. however not too warm of a white that could read cream especially in the evening when it’s dark or when we have the lights on in the pool house.

So after testing what my husband would say is ALL the whites, we decided on Westhighland White for the walls! And I’m so happy with how it turned out!

Every time I walk into our pool house now a feeling of complete peace comes over me. I am in love with this space. It turned out just as I envisioned it and in fact I told my husband that I just might consider sleeping out here some night because I just love it so much! Now my plan is to add a couple of citrus trees and spend as much time in here as we can!

 

Paint colors:

Walls – Sherwin Williams Westhighland White

Floors – Sherwin Williams Repose Gray

Girls Changing Room – Sherwin Williams Intimate White

Boys Changing Room – Sherwin Williams Sea Salt

 

If you’re local to me and are looking for the absolute best painters ever make sure to call Jose from Painter Bros of Weber & Davis County! They did a phenomenal job and we can’t recommend them enough!

 

Disclosure: I received paint from Sherwin-Williams as compensation for this post. All views and opinions expressed in this post are my own and no other compensation was provided.

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