Holidays

Salt Lake City Holiday Family Staycation // City Creek Center

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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.

Holiday Shopping Guide – What to Get Your Guy – Even EarPrint Headphones

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even-earprint-headphones-holiday-giftThis post is sponsored. All opinions are my own.

It dawned on me just two days ago that the holidays are no longer just approaching but that they are here, like right now! And if you’re anything like me, you’ve not only waited to start your holiday gift shopping until just now, but also have no idea what to get those on your list. Especially what to get your husband. Well, look no further, because I’ve found the perfect gift for you to get your guy, Even EarPrint Headphones. 

Even Headphones aren’t just your average headphones, they measure just how you hear and personalize your tune accordingly. The concept behind Even’s Headphones is that no two ears hear the same, not even your own. We each have a unique makeup that makes us all individuals in how we see, taste, smell and hear. And this is exactly what prompted the team behind Even to make a headphone that could help you hear at the optimum level just like glasses help bring your vision to 20/20. And this why they are perfect for my husband.

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About 12 years ago while teaching this son of ours how to swim my husband took a very deep dive into the pool and when he came up he lost 1/3 of his hearing in his right ear. Ever since it’s been extremely hard for him to find headphones that he can hear well out of from both ears. He either has to turn it up super load so he can hear out of his right ear or leave it down to where it seems like it’s a normal sound coming into his good ear, and barely hearing anything going into his bad ear which can be extremely frustrating for him.

I’m so excited to actually have a gift for my husband this year that will truly benefit him! Now I just need to keep these Even EarPrint Headphones hidden from my teenagers so they don’t try to swipe them for themselves!

I’d love to hear what your perfect gift for your man is, leave me a comment below 🙂

 

 

a blur

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Heres the thing. Life has been a bit crazy around here since my last post. Like for realz CRAY CRAY. These past few months are such a blur. I had a few separate posts started so I figured I would just mold them into one giant one..so, we’ll start here back on April 9th..

This one time…like nearly 3 months ago, I joined my Man on a little business trip that he had scheduled to San Francisco. It also happened to be our anniversary, so it worked out well for us. Most of the days I had to myself to explore the city, and at nights I was able to tag along with Will to his dinners and events. We stayed here, and it was just pure perfection. Stunning lobby, amazing rooms and marble galore. I absolutely, completely fell in love with the city (like big time) and can not wait to take our family back soon.

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Next up we celebrated this handsome son of mine (right up there on the left) “16th” birthday on the 16th of April. I took him to In-n-out for lunch and then we headed to a local family Italian joint with the whole crew for dinner. We missed out on singing to him on his actual birthday so when he returned from a tennis tournament late one evening we surprised him with a little family party.

Up next was Easter. I already overgrammed that so no need to blog it too. Then we headed in to May and things really got crazy around here. Most of my days were spent helping my two oldest girls prepare for their move to Seattle. We celebrated my cute boy Aden’s 14th birthday on the 9th. We went to dinner and I made him a Berry Chantilly cake. It was my first attempt and it turned out pretty divine. We then celebrated Mother’s day a few days later and the month rounded up with my daughter’s graduation and a celebration party for them after at our home (where I made my chantilly cake for the second time) that will be blogged about soon. But, the Chantilly recipe is coming up on the very next blog post!

Valentine’s Dates // and Us

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Valentines is one of my favorite holidays. I can remember waking up in the morning and racing down the block to my Grandmothers house to open my gift. It was usually a new outfit picked just for the day with some rad 80’s vibe of hearts or lips on it. I have carried my love for the holiday through to my children and usually get them some fun little gift related to it as well. But this year I thought it would be fun to have a little valentines date with each of my children alone. And, because we all start somewhere, here’s a little introduction to each of us too.

I started my dates a little later than I had originally planned. Tuesday rolled around and all of a sudden I realized that Valentines day was on Friday and I had better get moving. So, first up. My oldest daughter, Taylor // 18. She is currently finishing off her senior year in high school while also attending a local college. Working on getting her MA (Medical Assisting) degree everyday for part of her school day as well as two nights a week so that when she graduates and heads to college this fall she will have a good stable job to pay her own way through. In her very limited spare time she currently works at our “second home” teaching kids how to snowboard.

Tuesday evening is one of the two nights a week she is free so I jumped right on it. I had remembered her casually mentioning to me a few weeks ago that she was in need of some new under garments (is that the politically correct term?). So off to VS we headed. We found what we were in search of plus had fun trying on all of their lipstick colors. Bonus…we ended up spending just enough to get ourselves a “free” (not free at all) box of chocolates which I couldn’t partake in because I am in the middle of a whole 30 cleanse (I know, what was I thinking doing one over Valentines…but really I was thinking..thinking I’d save myself from wearing leggings as pants for the rest of the month. Oh, wait. I do that anyway.) But, my sweet girl saved half of each piece for me to have when I’m done. She’s really one of my most thoughtful children…children..can I still type (or call her) that even though she’s 18…sigh.

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After realizing that it was already just two days away from Valentines day I started mapping out how I was going to cram in 5 more individual dates. Every other Wednesday morning I volunteer in Liam’s first grade classroom and read with each of the kids individually. While I’m there L gets to spend time with her Grandpa whom she adores, but who also lives near a quaint little local bookstore/coffee shop and bam! I had her date scheduled and figured out.

Liliana aka Evie (that’s another post) // 3. The baby. She’s sweet and fiery all at once. Loves books, puzzles, pink, and princesses. But also can’t get enough of ballet, skiing, riding her bike and jumping on the trampoline. She’s always busy, but most of all is always (like literally 20 times a day) telling me how much she loves me. However, with all the things she loves, books and puzzles everyday all day long would be her happy. So, after picking her up from Grandpa we headed to the little bookstore around the corner and I let her choose her very own book. But not before she spent a good 20 minutes following the giant shop dog around and petting it so much that her hand was hairier than my legs during winter. I was beyond surprised by her book choice. I thought for sure we would end up with one of the pink (because this girl loves pink) glittery princess fairy books…but after she carefully flipped through about 10 different books we ended up with the most perfect Valentines book ever. “I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love” by Nancy Tillman.

After leaving the bookstore she asked if we could get a pink cookie. Of course! Even though I get to spend a lot of alone time with L, it usually consists of running errands and helping me take care of whatever chores or things I need to get done. So it was especially nice to have this little date and simply focus just on her.

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When L and I returned home from our little date it was nearing lunch time and that meant I was going to get to head out for my second date of the day with my second oldest Addie. She is also a senior in high school and is also getting her MA degree. Plus she works part-time as a customer services rep (so be nice to them) and thankfully Wednesdays are one of her days off. I’m telling you it’s hard to schedule time with teenagers!

Addison (Addie) // 17. My most health conscious child. She exercises daily and is very aware of what she puts in her body like me. She likes to eat good healthy food which seems unlikely for a teenager. So I knew immediately what I wanted to do for our date. There’s a newer earthy/gluten-free/hippie restaurant and juice bar that opened up in our downtown area and we both had been wanting to try it. We had a yummy lunch consisting of a vegan carrot ginger soup, and lettuce wrapped sandwiches. After lunch we browsed the attached store and took a peek at their yoga studio. It reminded me a lot of the studio I used to run and made me miss teaching yoga terribly..but that’s another story. We then headed to Target to pick her up some new headphones for her and Taylor’s upcoming trip to Haiti! It was so nice be alone and just talk about all of the fun things that are in store for her. It’s still so crazy for me to think that in just about 5 and a half months she and Tay will be living in a dorm and going to college! It sure makes me cherish this time. I just really love this girl and had such a fun afternoon with her. And at 17, she’s got her head on so straight she makes me proud.

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Oh, Mathew // 15. My sweet boy who is about to get his drivers license…wahhh! This kid will do anything to make his Mama happy. He is our most musically gifted child. I don’t know of anyone who has never played or had any lessons on an instrument and decides that they’re going to try out for the most sought after spot in and ensemble and gets it…that’s exactly what he did with winter drum line. He’s never played the drums before and just walks on and scores one of the best positions on the line…wtf. He also plays the guitar, piano, and saxophone…plus he just makes me laugh. He’s fun, lighthearted and appreciates life.

With his drum line schedule his only free night is on Wednesday so that slot was dedicated to him. We headed out for some shopping because I realized that it had been a while since I purchased him any new clothes…(like since the beginning of the school year) He’s not really a complainer…so it just didn’t really cross my mind until recently I had been noticing that he was starting to sag his pants..and we don’t generally sag in this house. Then it was like a bright light went on in my head. Bingo! Hey, Miko. Maybe he’s sagging because he’s grown like 4 inches since you bought him those pants…oh, uh..whoops. We closed down just about every retail shop around and picked up some In-n-Out somewhere in there too. I had so much fun hanging with my boy and we laughed a lot of the night away together.

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Thursday came around and up first was Aden // 13. Freestyle skiing extraordinaire and my part-time home schooler. He’s bad ass. That is all…I mean, just look at that rat tail. He is in 8th grade but since I home school him for his elective courses he only attends school every other day. And this week Thursday was a home school day. Which meant we would skip our normally scheduled “skiing class” (which is me dropping him off at the mountain first thing in the morning and picking him up when they close) and do our date instead. At 13, Aden is trying his luck with competitive freestyle skiing this year. He is competing in both slopestyle and rail jams. It has been fun (and scary) to watch him grow and push himself. He’s also known as the “other Dad” around these parts. He’s super close and always helpful with both Liam and Liliana. Children have always loved him and he loves them too. For as long as I can remember he has said that he wants to be a pediatrician. I just know he’ll be amazing at whatever the future holds for him.

I always block out the time for one of my kids to get their hair cut with me at my hair appointments. For the past month Aden had been somewhat jokingly (or from what I thought) saying he was going to cut his hair off when I had my next hair appointment. I didn’t really think much of it as whenever this has happened in the past he has backed out at the last minute. You see this boy has been rocking the long hair Justin Bieber do since before Bieber was even Bieber. But while I was getting my greys baked out under the dryer, Weston (the best hair dude ever) pulled out the buzzers and went to town. I literally was choking back tears. It has been years since I have seen Aden’s head with just buzzed hair on it. He decided to leave a rat tail for fun and now it looks like I’ll be braiding whats left of his luscious locks for him on a daily basis. After we were done getting our hairs did we headed to the mall to pick up some new kicks for his ever growing feet and picked him up a frozen yogurt treat too.

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And rounding up the Valentines dates is my youngest sweet boy Liam // 7. My new years baby. Literally the first one born in Utah for the year. He came in with a bang and fireworks and has been amazing ever since. Once anyone meets him they never forget him. He’s got more friends than all of us combined. Just last week Will was at Costco with him and he comes home and says “Liam is like a celebrity, seriously like ever person working at Costco said “hi” to him, or “hey Liam” as we walked by.” He just leaves an impression.

Little did he know, but he was what prompted my thought on doing these individual dates. The kid adores his big brother Aden and for months has talked about wanting tall white Nike socks just like Aden’s. So when I received my Sports Authority rebate last week I knew right then and there what I was using it towards. I wanted to surprise him, so I was trying to figure out a way to do it when the idea of the individual dates popped in to my head. This boy of mine is easy to please and is always smiling and happy. He just has such an amazing presence about him that it truly brings me to joyful tears. So white Nike socks is what he wanted and white Nike socks is what he got! Plus a slice of Costco Pizza and a root beer to enjoy in while sitting in the cart as I shopped just like he used to before he was in school all day. He was the perfect one to wrap up my individual Valentines dates with and we had a wonderful little date.

Last but absolutely not least. My Man, the Hubs, Will // (age not disclosed;)). He is what makes it all possible for this family to go round. Works hard for us and still makes time for each one of us. And on Valentines night he surprised me with a date. We normally don’t do anything too big. As he would say “I’d rather focus on making you feel special everyday not just once a year” But this year he did it a little different. He called me around 3 o’clock on Valentines day and told me to be dressed and ready by 5pm, that we had reservations at 5:30. When we arrived at the restaurant he didn’t know that the only menu was a special 5 course valentines menu with no deviation. We sat down, looked it over and realized that there wasn’t a single thing that I would be able to eat on the menu (remember..whole 30) so…we up and left. I always feel bad leaving restaurants after being seated, but when they offer nothing that will work what do you do? Now being prime dinner time on a friday night and Valentines day we knew we weren’t getting in anywhere. So we headed to a place where we knew we would be able to get in and where I would definitely be able to eat. A super yummy burger joint that is also a bar. But the awesome bonus for the night was all food was 50% off! So we seriously spent $15. And we ate two amazing lettuce wrapped bacon burgers and a big ole basket of sweet potato fries in our best dress duds. After dinner came the biggest surprise of all. He gave me a Macbook!! Seriously. He’s my favorite and my everything. And I mean it. xoxo

A Simple Valentines Box

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Through all of the many (and by many, I’m talking like over 30) Valentines parties I’ve prepared for and attended with my 5 older children, this is the first year I have ever had to make a valentines box. So, that being the case, the week before L’s valentines preschool party was to be had we set out on a first ever adventure together creating and crafting one up.

We rummaged through the recycle bin and found a Costco sized goldfish box, pulled some butcher paper, card stock, stencils, paint, washi tape, and bakers twine out of the craft drawer and set to work with no particular idea in mind.

Immediately upon seeing the paints L got right on top of painting some white card stock while I wrapped up the old goldfish box and sealed it with washi tape. Before long, My little painter had moved on to stenciling the box with xo’s and we finished it off with a handle @Liliana for her name…because Instagram of course.

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It was seriously so simple to make and I think it turned out pretty cute. Really, she couldn’t have been more excited and proud of her work. When I set her up on the counter to snap these shots she said “My friends will put treats in this hole for me?!” Ahh..this little girl…her excitement and love for everything that comes her way just keeps the biggest smile on my face.

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