Just Us

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.

A 7th Birthday + Backyard BBQ

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Last weekend we celebrated the baby of our bunch’s birthday. She turned “7”! Yes, 7!! We can’t even believe it. I know I feel like I say that every year, or every time one of my children gets older.. but it’s really how I feel. Time just moves so dang fast. But also kind of not at the same time. While I’m extremely grateful for it, I always linger with a bit of sadness every year this one gets older.

If you’ve followed along for a bit you may already know this, but we don’t do big birthday parties for our children every year. You can read more about how we celebrate birthdays here. But we do try to make the best of everyones birthdays by celebrating THEM by letting the birthday person make most of the choices for dinners, family time and everything in-between for about a week, we call them birthday weeks!

Liliana was lucky this year that her birthday fell on a very long weekend where most of us were off from work and school. We celebrated her right in the middle of it with close friends and family with a casual backyard BBQ and swim party, complete with my grandma’s homemade chocolate cake (made by her brother Aden) “just plain without any frosting on it” just as she requested. It was relaxing, really simple and nothing special. But a perfect way to celebrate our favorite little girl.

Also, could she be any more of a Daddy’s girl…and I think I know who might be his favorite as well 😉

 

Thanks for the photos Samantha Broderick

Incorporating Mindfulness – with Athleta

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Incorporating Mindfulness - Athleta

Permission to Pause - Athleta x Miko Bowen

 

Since recently turning the big 40 I have found that incorporating mindfulness into my life and giving myself Permission to Pause for even just a couple of minutes each day helps me set the tone for a better, more fulfilling life. As a Mom in our busy on the go, always connected world it’s easy to find ourselves somewhat lost mindfully. But finding that moment of calm can not only help you recharge but also inspire you to be the best version of yourself.

For me mindfulness doesn’t need to be hard or complicated. It’s as simple as taking a few moments each morning to just pause and really take in my surroundings and let my mind settle as I’m sipping my morning cup of green tea. Or writing down a few thoughts in my journal. And sometimes just taking a moment to listen to myself breathe is all I need.

Weeding out distractions is key for me to fully invest in my moments of Pause. That includes wearing something comfortable that doesn’t tug or pull at me. Athleta’s new sustainable Restore clothing line is that for me. Made from sustainable fabrics in a neutral palette that’s not only super soft but incredibly comfortable as well. And I really love that Athleta’s mission is to ignite a community of active, healthy, confident women and girls who empower each other to realize their limitless potential.

Mindfulness Athleta Restore Clothing

Meditate Athleta Restore Clothing

Moment of Mindfulness

Incorporating Mindfulness Reading

So my friends, I invite you to give yourself Permission to Pause this month and find your moment of calm and restoration in a way that works for you. xoxo

Worn: Eco Wash Restore Sweatshirt in Lilac // Studio Wrap in Marl Grey Heather // Restore Jogger in Charcoal Grey Heather // With Ease Tank in Bright White

 

Photos by: Tracy Layne Photography

 

**This post was sponsored by Athleta. All opinions are my own.

Our Disneyland Surprise Vacation

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disneyland sky spring

We pulled off our surprise Disneyland trip and couldn’t have done it without all of the help we received from Get Away Today. And it only seemed fitting that I finally blog our Disneyland trip from the spring on the return of our summer visit! Will and I decided to make our little ones first visit to the most magical place on earth a complete surprise. We had told them that Dad had a very, very long business trip (hence him taking 3 suitcases for himself) and since he was going to be gone for so long we were going to have grandma take him to the airport so we could all see him off and then hang out in SLC for a fun play day. Well..our big fib was well played and they never second guessed us. Just watch this video capturing it all.

See! They truly couldn’t believe it or us! Liliana kept thinking her dad was still going on that business trip all the way until she boarded the plane. And Liam just kept saying over and over “Wait. Are we really going to Disneyland? Like right now?” Once we landed though and quickly checked in to our hotel it all became very real for the both of them! And we hit the ground running immediately and headed straight into the park.

We were all so excited on our first day that I hardly grabbed any photos! But thankfully Will captured this photo of Liliana on the very first ride we took, Dumbo!

Our first day at Disneyland park was well spent. We stayed until just about close and hit all the rides that we could. Tip – stay late if possible. All of the lines ie: Splash Mountain, The Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad had no waits whatsoever! I think we rode Splash Mountain 3 time in a row back to back! It was so much fun!

For dinner on our first night at the park we ate at the Carnation Cafe. Our timing couldn’t have been more perfect as we were sat outside and dined at the perfect time to get front row views for the electric light parade. We ordered all of their known faves – the fried pickles with dipping sauce, the baked potato soup and the homemade meatloaf. Not a single one disappointed. I still dream about those fried pickles if I’m being completely honest 😉

We woke up on day 2 and were completely exhausted, but so excited to head back for more. But first breakfast. We headed to our full complimentary breakfast buffet that the Residence Inn Anaheim Convention Resort offers all of it’s guests. Serious perks and something we always look for when traveling as a family. And then a quick peek at the rooftop pool area and splash pad before we headed off for our day.

We decided we’d spend the first half of our day at California Adventure and the second half back at Disneyland Park since Liliana had a full on princess makeover scheduled at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique later in the day.



After a fun morning at California Adventure we stopped in for lunch at the Storyteller’s Cafe. It was fun to see it hadn’t changed too much since we brought our 4 big kids there over 12 years ago. Will and I spent so much time reminiscing about that trip and talking with our two youngest all about it. Oh! Another quick tip! We feel like to get the best out of your trip you absolutely must download the official Disneyland App. It is so helpful when trying to navigate the park, check line wait times, as well as reserving dining at all of the Disneyland restaurants. Truthfully I don’t know how anyone does Disney without it!

Soon it was time to head to Cinderella’s Castle for Liliana’s appt at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. When we were planning this surprise trip in one of my Disneyland searches I found that your little girl could be turned into a real live princess. I had no idea that Disneyland offered anything like it! After chatting with Will we decided that we would surprise Liliana with an appt. We chose the Castle Package because after having so many children and watching how fast they grow up we know one thing for sure. And that is, that they’re only little once… and for such short time. So if you think you’ll do it later, chances are you won’t. Or maybe you will, but the time where it was pure magic may already be lost. So when we realized that this may be our only chance for Liliana to really enjoy the magic of all of this we jumped! Are we were so glad we did. She more than loved it.

Since our hotel was so conveniently located within walking distance to Disneyland it allowed for us to head back for an afternoon break. Liam + Liliana couldn’t get the visions of the pool from the morning out of their heads and both Will and I felt like a dip in the pool (and possibly a nap) sounded great since it was so hot!

After a good few hours we headed back to Disneyland for dinner at Goofy’s Kitchen. Which we all loved! It was super fun and interactive with songs and dance all while you are dining. Also, if you’ve never experienced Goofy’s macaroni and cheese pizza you haven’t fully experienced life! We all seriously couldn’t get enough of it!

When dinner was over we strolled through downtown Disney where we stopped into a store where Liam constructed and built his very own remote control car! It was such a fun experience for him. We always try to do something special for each of our kids that they will remember. And since Liliana was able to enjoy being made into a princess it seemed that Liam making his own car was a perfect fit for him. We headed back to our room fairly early to get a good nights rest as we knew that the next morning was our early entry day and we were all going to need some serious sleep.

anaheim marriot convention room

Our third and final day at Disneyland was our early entry day! We got up at what seemed like the butt crack of dawn and rushed to the park to try to get in all the fun rides we could and that usually have the longest wait times. It was so fun to be in the park when there are hardly any others in there. It was kind of like we had the place to ourselves. While Will ran and took the kids on Hyper Space Mountain, I ran to Indiana Jones and staked our place in the front of the line. It worked out perfectly so they were able to ride both rides within the first half hour of us entering the park. If you have the chance to add early-entry to your park tickets for one of your days we highly suggest it!

We bounced back and forth between both California Adventure and Disneyland for the rest of the day. Enjoyed lunch at Ariels Grotto where we got to dine and meet four of the Disney Princesses. Snacked on some cotton candy and had the best corn dog of our lives from the Corn Dog Castle located on Paradise Pier in California Adventure. I truly haven’t had a corndog in probably over 20 years….but you bet your bottom I ate one and it was incredible! And of course we can’t forget the delectable and famous Dole Whip. Perfect for any hot day at Disneyland!

After a full 3 days, we said goodbye to Disneyland and hello to the beach (blog post coming up). We truly loved every bit of our experience at the most magical place on earth and can’t wait to head back again soon! I never thought I’d, or we would be any sort of crazy Disneyland loving family…but never say never. The magic is real and we all felt it and love it so much that I’m seriously considering season passes! We are only a short 10 hour drive 😉 and again, maybe I’m crazy, but I want to soak up all of the fun magic moments with our little ones before they get too big and it’s lost.

Thanks again to GetAway Today and Disneyland for making our trip the most magical and memorable ever. We can not recommend them enough for help with planning your vacation!

 

Also, thanks to Yanira Calise Photography for coming to Disneyland and capturing some fun photos for us.

 

This post is in partnership with Get Away Today and Disneyland. 

A little Spring around our Home

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miko bowen white kitchen spring home

It’s officially spring and we are welcoming it with big wide open arms over here at our home! As a family who normally loves the winter season to last as long as possible (because skiing) we could not be more happy this year to see all the snow melt and the little purple crocuses pop up all over our lawn. This winter was one of the best as far as snow we’ve had in years, but for some reason both my husband and I just weren’t feeling the “ski every minute we can” vibe this season. In fact it was quite opposite for us. I think we just needed a bit of a break this year and maybe next year the ski vibe will be back for us. But for now give me all the spring!

So in honor of sunshine and little blooming flowers I thought I’d share some cheery spring photos from around our home with you this morning. Happy Spring 2017 friends!

miko bowen kitchen home shelves

Grey Ceramic Bowls + Mugs from Rove Concepts.

miko bowen dining room in spring

Glass vases // Wishbone Chairs // Dining Table // Rug

miko bowen spring home

Marble Tic-Tac-Toe // Marble Pawn Vase

 

Photos by Jessica Kettle Photography

 

 

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