Category:

Travel

What island likes to have a lot of sweets? A deserted island J OK…OK…so we decided to head to the desert right after Christmas, but due to our unexpected trip to the Midwest, we ended up adjusting our dates so we could spend New Year’s Eve at The Miramonte Indian Wells Resort. Indian Wells is in the Coachella Valley (book now for festival season) between Palm Desert and La Quinta.

 

It’s funny how we left 12-degree temperatures in Omaha on December 29, and we were expecting hot desert temperatures to come home to. Well, we happened to come home to a cold snap and the temps in the desert were 60 degrees and below! We are so wimpy now. Needless to say, always check the weather before you pack. We took a day trip to Joshua Tree National Park and needed our winter clothes! I still grinned and bared it to get some fashion content but wow was I cold! All for the gram!

 

The Miramonte Indian Wells Resort is super family friendly with Spanish style architecture and beautifully landscaped grounds. Our room was garden level with a citrus garden outside our door. The grounds crew even picked some lemons and oranges for us and brought them to our door. The property also has a rose garden and an area with a life-size Connect Four game and bean bag toss, which the kids really enjoyed. We were disappointed because it was too cold for the pool. Although the kids totally would have gone for it if we had let them. We’ll have to return in the spring. The resort also has a spa and adult only hideaway pool.

 

Considering the cold temperatures, our favorite amenity was the fire pits scattered throughout the resort. You can even book a smores package and snuggle up together at sunset with melted marshmallow stickiness goodness.

 

For our hotel room New Year’s Eve bash, we picked up some root beer, sparkling juice, gummy bears, lollipops and popcorn. Whole Foods is a five-minute drive from the hotel. The room was spacious enough for a little dance party as we counted down the New Year. Here’s the nice thing about being on Pacific Standard Time – we celebrate the New Year at New York City time, then we all go to bed early. Does anybody else do this?

Despite the temperature hickup, it was a great trip and we’re definitely looking forward to our next visit!

Here are some other ideas for a trip to the Coachella Valley:

Tramway

Zoo

Joshua Tree

Salvation Mountain

Modernism Week

Outfits: kimono – Poska Resortwear // black camisole only $24! // leather pants and similar // white mules // “S” necklace

pink coat // white jeans // white mules // white blouse // leopard clutch //

chunky knit sweater // OTK Boots I’m a 9, and ordered a 40 // leopard Scarf

Click here to book your next trip at Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa

How to shop for a Ski Trip

by Shalice Noel

Women’s

scarf 2. ski sweater 3. gloves are under $10! 4. ski coat 5. sweater 6. moon boot 7. ski pants

Men’s

1. hat 2. beanie 3. sunglasses 4. sweater 5. marled sweater 6. T-shirt 7. ski pants 8. backpack 9. ski jacket 10. boots similar

In 20 days we leave for Vail, CO to ski as a family! I’m starting to pack now for our trip. I’m still waiting on some turtlenecks and goggles coming in the mail, otherwise I’m feeling good about packing early! I can’t wait for our private ski lesson and enjoying more snowy conditions than last year. I’ll be sure to capture many pictures of my kiddos in ski gear, because it is THE CUTEST. Admittedly, my 7 year old is a better skier than I am and went down more blues than I did! Sadly, that’s the truth! Which is your favorite ski sweater, coat?

See more pictures HERE from last year’s family trip to Vail!

skirt // cardigan

brass stool table // sandals // similar denim jeans // black jeans // buffalo check top // faux fur 

 

4 Takeaway Tips

Check @airbnb for cool rentals. Our place was 3 bed 3 bath and a pullout couch condo almost 40 floors up. It was the same price as a high end hotel, but had a nice kitchen and plenty of room to spread out. Plus the views were VERY instagram worthy. And that’s reason enough. We’ve become home bodies more and more, so staying in a great place is huge. We didn’t always feel like going out, especially when you love where you’re at. I got SO man questions asking where we stayed in Chicago. Here’s a link to our Airbnb.

Download Park Whiz app. We found parking for 3 nights for $60, a short walk away. I ended up finding a coupon code on Retail me Not (Not sponsored) for an extra $5 off. Hey, score!

Take the kids to the LEGO store. We scored big taking them to the Lego store in Watertower. I  ALMOST made up for the time I tried on 5 faux fur coats at Nordstrom with a couple Ninjago sets. Plus the cashier asked if this was a gift, and threw in 2 gift sets. Merry Christmas!

It Lived up to the Hype: Dinner/Lunch/Breakfast at 3 Arts Cafe in Restoration Hardware

We ordered an Uber and headed to the Gold Coast for some fresh interior inspo and yummy bites at the 3 Arts Cafe. No reservations needed, we walked in , sat down, enjoyed veggies and dips as an appetizer and a turkey club. Yummy! And listening to the fountain was so relaxing, even Levi enjoyed it.

While in Omaha, we visited the Omaha Zoo and Lauritzen Gardens. Two of our favorites!

We look forward to winding down this weekend at home. What are your plans?

Just as an FYI, I’m hosting a giveaway on Instagram today. Stay Tuned!

MatchesFashion is having an extra 10% off sale today – see my picks below:

Also, Nordstrom still has some great finds on sale now up to 40% off. See my picks below:

swim tunic cover up // denim short one teaspoon // sunglasses // blue dress Misa Los Angeles similar  // kimono and similar cute one // one-shoulder red dress // stripe flip flops

Reid was off 6 weeks for paternity leave and the doctors recommended traveling with a newborn after 5 weeks, so we jumped right through that 5-week window and decided to take a trip to Kauai. I know, crazy sounding, but it actually worked out great. Flying with a newborn is much easier than traveling with a 1-year-old. Levi pretty much nursed and slept the entire flight. 

 

Why Kauai?

We chose Kauai because Reid and I went there for our honeymoon and the island is familiar to us. We felt we didn’t need the added stress of flying somewhere totally new. We’ll do that when he’s a little older.  Also, the Lihue airport is chill and not big-city crowded. It’s the Garden Isle after all. For LA urban dwellers like ourselves who battle sirens, smog and traffic, the country is a breath of fresh air. Literally. I’ll substitute sirens for rooster crowing any day. Yes, wild chickens roam the island of Kauai!

Kauai Family Trip Roundup

Here’s a list of our faves to help you plan your next trip:

Where we stayed

Suite Paradise. We stayed in a condo which had a kitchen and plenty of room for the 7 of us. We had a garden view and can’t complain because the price was right. Suite Paradise has a variety of units available at various price ranges. All reservations include a resort fee with access to the Poipu Athletic Club. The kids loved the pool with slide and Reid loved the gym. They also have tennis and basketball courts for the real athletes.

Favorite Beaches

Our favorite beach was Polihale Beach. It’s totally remote but not kid friendly. So our favorite kid-friendly beaches are:

Beach at Sheraton – Kiahuna Beach

Best for a quick family swim, boogie boarding and lots of surf lessons going on if you want to give it a shot.

Baby Beach or Poipu Beach

Great snorkeling, but you will need water shoes because of the rocky bottom. We saw incredible fish, eels, sea turtles and sea lions. There is also an island you can swim to.

Best Coffee

This is a big deal because everywhere we go we look for GOOD COFFEE. This is hard to master because good coffee is really hard to find IMO.

Little Fish Coffee. Reid rated that a 5 since it tasted a little burnt for the drip version. Maybe the custom pour over would have been better, but Reid didn’t give them a second chance. The place was packed for breakfast with outdoor seating and a total surfer vibe.

Living Foods Market had the best coffee. I ordered the almond milk latte and he ordered one large regular coffee. No burnt taste and we’re going back next time.

Eden Coffee is a cute little food truck with smoothies and coffee. We got to know the owner and he has a family very similar to ours so we immediately bonded and instantly followed them on Instagram because I feel like we are old family friends now.

Best Nature Seeing

Spouting Horn

It’s a quick little stop off from the main highway along the coast. It’s a cave that spouts water up to 30 feet in the air as the waves come in. It was pretty impressive and fun to watch. The kids really dug it and loved hearing the funny sound it makes.

Waimea Canyon 

The drive to Waimea Canyon was amazing as you go from sea level up to 3,000 feet above. There is a lookout point to view the canyon which is considered The Grand Canyon of the Islands. You can see a waterfall in the distance. We suggest picking up food in the city of Waimea and having a picnic in the Waimea National Park. We also grabbed shaved ice at Jo Jos on the way back. A local favorite.

Best Shaved Ice

Shave Ice TegeTege

Shaved ice is a known dessert for Kauai. We suggest Shave Ice Tege Tege, in Kappa. A local friend Reid made in the Poipu Gym recommended it. For those who hate food coloring, this food truck offers the only 100% organic Japanese-style shaved ice. The kids picked grapefruit and Meyer Lemon flavors. Bring cash though, it’s cash only and Reid and I only had enough cash for the kids.

Best Ice Cream

            Lappert’s Hawaii

While the kids hunted after the best-shaved ice, Reid and I sought after ice cream. Lappert’s in Hanapepe was our favorite. Rich and creamy and made right in the back of the store. It’s been around since 1983 (that’s not old is it?).

 

The kids are asking us to book our next return trip ASAP and I actually agree with them. Comment below on your favorite Hawaii experiences. I’d love to get more ideas for our next trip!

We kicked off our babymoon at the Langham Pasadena with cream tea time in The Club Lounge. The baby and I enjoyed cream, berries and English tea with cream and a cube of sugar, YUM!

It happened to be a really hot week here in Pasadena, so we waited until the sun came down a little to enjoy dinner at the Royce. Reid wanted to celebrate with a steak, I really just wanted a veggie burger. I ended up compromising on this one.

We had a corner room with a view over the pool and the San Gabriel Mountains. The grounds and gardens here are botanical and simply breathtaking! I mean, what would it feel like to get married here? You can’t help but notice the manicured lawns with paths that meander through the beauty. I told Reid, time stood still a little today, and that’s not a bad thing.

For day 2, we made a beeline to the club lounge for some potato and garlic scrambled eggs, a plethora of berries, fresh lattes (steamed almond milk upon request), muesli, fresh smoothies—you get the idea. YUMMY. After breakfast, we stopped by the pool and hot tub to cool down. I love the size of the hotel, it’s big but it doesn’t feel huge. They also had yoga outside for the community and supplied cold water by the pool and the staff is super friendly. I definitely will be back. Maybe with my party of 7 ;). 

Top and similar / Earrings // Leopard Clutch // Sandals // Jeans // Necklace similar // Sunglasses // Bronzer in “Laguna” // Sunless Tanner

Last weekend I spent with Rewardstyle! I have been with them since their inception, and if you’re not already familiar, this company has changed the fashion world! One of the highlights was, I was able to talk to my insta friend, fellow mom and multiple business owner Amber Venz-Box. We talked about her new venture “cherry” the downloadable app that allows you to order a mani pedi from your phone and they come to you. YES, I tried this service and LOVED it! Feels luxe when you can get a manicure and pedicure in your pj’s! Besides taking advantage of the great opportunity to network with fellow bloggers, I also attended for the seminars on how to best integrate home content into my blog and social channels. As most of you know, we are in the thick of renovating our the Lake Arrowhead house, and will be shortly furnishing it! I can’t wait to implement what I learned from this packed weekend! What do you guys think? I always value your opinion.

Tips for Travel to Dallas

Where did you stay?

Hotel Crescent Court

Huge hotel and lots of amenities, service was a wee bit slow but it was during a large conference so delays expected.

Friends of mine also stayed at the Adolphus and loved it.

Where did you eat?

+ We at ShinSei for sushi, thankfully they had a good variety of vegetarian dishes as well.

+ The Concierge is your best friend. We asked for healthy vegetarian food and we were told to go to NORA, mediterranean cuisine that knocked it out of the park.

Also recommended to me but I didn’t have time to try:

Sixty Vines, Honor Bar, Royal Blue Coffee, Mi Cocina, Bird Bakery, and Dolce Riviera

What to do for fun?

+ Go Biking! Our hotel had bikes – use them! Did you know on average, you can burn up to 450 calories just biking 5 miles?

+ Get Coffee

+ Go visit the Dallas Arboretum

+ Shop at the Dallas Galleria

As always, my shop page is open 24/7 (including home products I’m shopping for currently) and don’t forget to follow me on the LiketoKnow.it App where I’m posting exclusive content.

Now, off to take my kids to the park because its truly feels like Spring.

Happy Monday!

We had the opportunity last week to go as a family to The Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage in Palm Springs.  The brand ASbyDF invited us to stay for two nights and feature some of their gorgeous new arrivals. Needless to say, it was a beautiful desert getaway with so many amenities and natural beauty surrounding us. To name a few, the separate kids pool and adults vista pool, the spa (I got a facial) , Reid hit the gym and club lounge. The latter of which really made the trip.  The Club Lounge provides breakfast, lunch, snacks and drinks from 7 – 10 at night.  Our room happened to be a couple doors down from the club lounge. So convenient and we goofed around in their for a little while. Our special last night, we ate dinner at State, a restaurant within the hotel. We enjoyed decadent burgers, steaks and excellent kids menu.  Oh and the kids finished their plates, thanks to the full day of swimming. As a special treat, the kids were invited into the kitchen to meet the chef, so cool!  They couldn’t believe the full size pig getting ready for a roasting.  If you’re planning a trip to Rancho Mirage, don’t miss these things:

STAR GAZING starts at 6:30, see the bright stars (If the weather permits…it usually does) and meanwhile enjoy a milky way candy bar.

HIKING you can go hiking around the hotel and nearby Indian Canyon. If we had more than 2 days, we would have loved to hike!

POOLS and hot tubs, we enjoyed the kids pool but there’s also a beautiful adult only pool with a spectacular view.

THE SPA you can use their hot tubs till 7:30 that day of service.

THE GYM has gymnastic rings and battle ropes for some HIIT (High Intensity Impact Training)

Have you been to Palm Springs or Rancho Mirage? Let me know in the comments below. And we are re-vamping the blog, so feel free to share what you’d like to see more of — stay tuned!

my parka // my dress // boots // hubby’s coat // little boy parka

Camel Coat Outfit

Ski Jacket // Ski Pants //

The Arrabelle at Vail Mountain

Perched up on top of the breathtaking Rockies – a mere 8,022 feet above sea level, is the European inspired town of Vail, CO. I cannot tell you how excited we were to finally go here! Not to mention as a family. This summer, we stopped in Vail for two days on our way to Chicago. Read more here. We rode the gondola and marveled at the streams, the warm sun, chilly nights, and most of all, GORGEOUS VIEWS. Family vacations, as many moms know, are not all relaxing all the time, so we were super excited when Reid’s parents agreed to join us in Vail for a couple of days. A girl needs a couple date nights out with hubby, right? I also got a little spa day, more on that below.

Which do you prefer?  Skiing or beach.  As always…I’ll welcome one of each per year, if I can.  All in the name of balance, right?  Now that we live in a warm climate, I don’t mind a week in snowy cabin.  The family was fortunate enough to partner with Vail Resorts as the ski season was just getting kicked off this last week.  The beauty of going skiing as a young family is that you are investing in their skills so when they are teenagers, they’ll be racing you down the black diamonds…if that’s your thing.  Or, sipping hot chocolate with you in the lodge.

Reserved Ski lessons

For a large family, you can book a private group lesson for less than 4 kids ½ day ski school.  Here’s our lesson learned.  Skiers and snowboards don’t mix.  The boys chose to snowboard and the girls skied.  I booked Ski lessons for everyone.  The Vail Ski School was super accommodating.  They arranged for a group ½ day lesson for the boys at a little extra cost.  The girls kept with the private lesson I had originally booked.  While the kids were in their lessons, Reid and I skied together which ended up being on the same bunny slope as the kids.  So we all got to see each other the first day.  And woahhhh… did my heart melt seeing my mini snowboarders figuring things out!  It was the cutest thing I have ever seen.  Seriously.  Worth every penny.  The boys though switched to skiing the rest of the trip, so Reid and I spent a day teaching them skiing.  Fortunately, they picked it up pretty fast.  Can we say Pizza?  I grew up calling it Snowplow?  What did you call it?

Booked a spa treatment

My hubby surprised me with a spa treatment at the Arrabelle Spa.  With the winter dryness setting in, airplane hair, wind burn, I needed major facial reconstruction.  I had a 50 minute glow facial.  It was…..

Yes.  That good.

I loved the exfoliation, steam, hot towels and how tight my skin felt afterwards. I learned a lot too! The aesthetician told me silk pillows are worth the buy both for your hair and skin, go easy on chemical peels, and every night you go to bed with make-up on, ages you 7 days. Ouch! Good to know. Bonus, I was given lemon sorbet after the procedure and a welcome to come back to the spa anytime to use the spa’s hot tub, sauna and steam room as we were hotel guests. Which of course Reid and I did that night. 

Meal Planning

Planning a day on the slopes can be overwhelming.  Especially for a larger family.  We tried to ease some stress by packing a backpack of crackers, gummies and water.  It did help some hangry moments.  Nobody really wanted to stop skiing, so a quick snack hit the spot.  Plus, the lifts lines we the best during the lunch hour!

Spending time on the slopes will be memorable now and years to come.  We are now one of those skiing families that I always dreamed of being.

Thank you Vail Mountain/Vail Tourism for a wonderful trip our family will never forget!

faux fur jacket and similar // jeans // flats

This week, the brand MeUndies flew me up to the Bay Area to cover their store opening in Palo Alto. It was a fun night of drinks, bites, taking selfies in front of their mirrors that read “You look good tonight” and shopping super soft sweats. Not a bad job, right?

After the event the next day, we were left with 3 good hours in San Francisco before we left for LAX. What would you see in SF if you only had 3 hours?

For me, it meant fueling up with a good breakfast then heading over to the Golden Gate Bridge. I saw it when I was little and countless times on Full House, but let’s be real, there’s nothing like seeing it in person. I squealed like a pathetic tourist when our Uber driver drove over it. It happened to be a super clear day and not a cloud in the sky. According to locals, the most unique view of the bridge and Bay is to climb to the top of historic Fort Point, in the popular Presidio area. My only regret was not seeing this at golden hour. Impossible to do with a flight bound for LAX at 4:03.

It’s OK though, I was excited to greet the real golden hour – time with my kids after being gone 48 hrs which included hugs, kisses, reading books, hearing about school and the highs and lows of their day. Followed by a much anticipated opening of 4 Lego sets I ordered via Amazon Prime since I didn’t have time to buy gifts in SF. Efficiency makes golden hour sweeter. See the shortlist below where to eat.  See also my guide on Carlsbad if you missed it. Happy weekend!

 

WHERE TO EAT

// statebird SF // 1529 Fillmore St // American style Dim Sum

// a Mano // 450 Hayes Street

for amazing radish salad & homemade pasta

// Hotel Proper //1100 Market Street

“Instagrammable lobby.” Great breakfast

 


 


 

phoebe distressed AG JEANS :: jacket LINEA PELLE :: tank LUSH similar :: heels Coconuts by MATISSE :: bag REBECCA MINKOFF ::

 

We set out on a sunny Friday morning which happened to also be National Donut day, for the city of Chicago. We allotted 4 days of travel via a large 2017 Suburban thanks to Budget, that we picked up the night before, along with donuts. The vehicle was perfect for our long journey of 2700 miles with stops in La Verkin, Utah, Vail, CO, Omaha, NE, Cedar Rapids, IA, and finally Chicago, IL. While as a party of six, as you can imagine there was a lot of “are we there yet?” and when can we dig into the candy kinds of questions. Beyond that, there was a lot of eye spying games and ooh’s and ahh’s once we got to Utah and were in awe of the rocks and mountains. It was great to be able to stop when we saw a scenic overlook or an old gas station or whatever of interest. I remember driving with Reid when we were dating from Chicago to Omaha and barely stopping once. Now, with children, they force you to stay flexible, go with the flow and savor this time that I hope they never forget. While we LOVED the long car trip, we all agreed flying home with American Airlines was the way to go. Four hours of flying versus four days, was a huge difference! Read on below for some travel tips answering some of my most asked questions.

Tips for Travel:

Where to Stay when visiting ZION NATIONAL PARK?

I got asked this a ton when we drove through Zion National Park. Stay in Springdale if you want to catch the ZION national park hikes and trails right out your front door. Such an artsy and pedestrian friendly little town (La Quinta had a great pool ). We made the rookie mistake of staying in La Verkin instead of Springdale which is closer to the park and has a free bus service that takes you to the ZION entrance. Read more Here.

Bring protein snacks and water everywhere! The desert literally had zero watering holes nearby. Be prepared.

Get organized. We had all the kids clothes in Ziploc bags. Each bag contained 1 full outfit (shirt and shorts or dress) and 1 pair of socks and underwear.

Don’t let kids pack their backpacks it sounds good but edit, edit! You’ll thank me when you’re on your second hike and they’re complaining how heavy their backpack is.

Don’t forget the baby wipes! I use them for everything from ice cream mustaches to cleaning the dashboard.

Make frequent stops at the scenic overlooks. The theme of your trip (if you’re traveling as a family) is SLOW and SAVOR. Even though it seems counter intuitive and oh-so hard, don’t rush what could be the most unforgettable memory. Truly.

 

girls romper Saks Fifth Avenue // girls white cold shoulder dress Target // girls maxi dress Target // my Jacket AG JEANS 

bedroom credits //

nightstands Urban Outfitters // linen sheets West Elm // clothing rack IKEA // grommet tee Nordstrom // ivory sofa Interior Define //jute rug West Elm