Entries from November 28th, 2017

Salt Lake City Holiday Family Staycation // City Creek Center


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


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

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