Sweater dress // Similar ring  // OTK Boots  // Faux leather skirt // Cape I’m wearing in small and Similar Cape // Fendi Bag // Tissue turtleneck //

We were all set to go to New York Fashion Week, but a work thing came up and we ended up canceling our trip.  As a creative, NYFW totally inspires me and I was disappointed missed it.  It’s funny how things turn on you though.  NYFW came and I had major FOMO, but then a couple friends suggested I go to Fashion Week in Milan.  I had thought about going last year but was 8 month pregnant with Levi, so that wasn’t going to happen.  Reid and I discussed the possibility and we decided to go for it.

I’ll post about the shows and presentations I attended during Milan Fashion Week, but for this post I’m sharing international travel tips.  Yes we took Levi.  Yes we booked with little planning.  Yes we had a great time!

We found direct flights from LAX to MXP on Air Italia.  We found the price to be the best and the direct flight made the journey a little less stressful.  Flying with an 11 month old is hard.  I wish I had advice to make it better, but honestly, it’s hard.  Grin and bear it.  Nurse like crazy.  He actually did great!  Resolving the sleep schedule was another issue.

We researched shortly where to stay and eventually landed at a really cool apartment in a great location.  The place we rented was called Brera Apartments. Here’s the exact link. We stayed in the San Fermo Apartment that slept 4 adults. We slept in the master, and Atalie slept in the pullout bed in the living room area. It was perfect! Here are Reid’s three tips on finding a great place to stay.

  1.  Look on a map for the sites you really want to see.  From that center point, search the surrounding area that is about a 15-20 minute walk.  The places near the center of the action were pricey and we found places further out yet still walkable to be half the price.  So while it may be more expensive than places even further out, what we saved in cab fare more than made up for the cost.
  2. When traveling with kids a kitchen is a huge benefit, therefore we always pick something more like a home, than a hotel.  We brought oatmeal packets for breakfast and ate small meals from the grocery store for lunch.  The best lunch was when we discovered the San Marco Farmer’s Market right around the corner.  We bought fresh mozzarella, prosciutto and olives.  Seriously the best meal for only 7 euro’s and fed all of us.  We saved our big meals for dinner as the Italian’s typically do.
  3. When booking a place make sure the neighborhood has the three basics.  Café, Gelato and Market.  We could not get enough of the Fioraio Bianchi Caffe ,on the corner of our street.  We felt part of the community as we drank our cappuccino’s every morning among our neighbors.  Truly a great local experience.

We decided to leave Milan for the day and take the train to Florence.  We caught the 10:25am train to Florence that arrived at 11:50am.  The train ride was fast and we were able to do some great shopping (Fendi!….check my post!!!) We also saw all the beautiful cathedrals and walked an amazing amount of steps before we caught the train back to Milan at 6:25pm.  It was well worth the effort.  Florence is beautiful, we suggest you find a day when it is not as crowded.

Traveling with a babe:

Traveling with a baby isn’t easy. It is important to stay flexible, lower your expectations, and bring snacks. I found some organic baby biscuits at a small Milan grocery store that literally SAVED us. He loved gnawing on them. A good travel stroller is worth is weight in gold! Levi loved the cozy Colugo stroller and we liked how lightweight and easy it was to pack.

Long story short, the 12 hour flight was long, the trip was AMAZING. I would do it again and yes we are already looking to bring the family back for a couple of months.

How about you, where in Italy is your favorite place? Do share! As always, my SHOP PAGE is open 24/7. Happy weekend!

Chores as a Party of 7!

by Shalice Noel

Introducing Your Kids to Household Chores

I get a lot of questions about chores in our family, and if so, how does it look. I wish it didn’t take management, and gently reminders, but it does.

It’s an exciting time around our house because the kids are finally reaching the age where they can take on a few household chores. Any other moms know this excitement? We’re starting off introducing a few things with our oldest child right now and she’s been a great help, especially with the other kids. I thought I’d share a few tips on what we’re doing to get started on this journey and if you have any of your own, please share too!
Create a visual

I’ve seen a lot of other mom friends do this and think it’s a great strategy. We’re working on making ours now and explaining to our oldest what needs to be done on what days. I think she’s catching on really well and so good so far.


Every parent knows a little bit of bribery goes a long way when it comes to getting your kids to do things. We try not to go too crazy with the bribes, but it also helps teach them about what it means to work. You try hard and do a good job, you get rewarded. Her incentives usually include small gifts (like getting to chose a favorite candy or snack. My kids like Ricola cough drops!) Another incentive is getting to go on a date with mommy or daddy.

Make it fun

I like to give her “fun” things to do or things that can be turned into a game. Like when she’s playing with her younger siblings and it actually doubles as a little babysitting time so I can clean the house or work.
We’re new to this so like I said above, if you have any tips on how to introduce kids to household chores, I’m all ears!


This is a short breakdown of who does what.

My oldest (age 11) does laundry. She takes the large basket from upstairs to downstairs and is responsible for folding and the others help take their folded clothes to their closet. This process sometimes takes 2 days I’ll admit!

My second daughter (age 9) is responsible for filling and clearing the dishwasher. She says she ‘hates her job,’ but she’s fast and does a good job.

My oldest son (age 8) is responsible for the ‘big trash.’ He takes out the trash and recycling for the family.

My younger son is 6, and is responsible for the ‘small trash.’ He empties all of the small waste bins from upstairs into the large trash downstairs.

I wish I could say, all 4 do their chores perfectly and without complaining but I’d be lying! If I give them a heads up, like “finish your chores before we head out to Brooks’ game.” And I try to give them ample time to do their chores before we leave. It is far from perfect, but these chores are age appropriate and REALLY do help our family as a whole. With 7, people we have 7x the mess. So each and every chores blesses the whole family.

How about you, what has worked for your family? I’m all ears!

my cardigan // lunch containers // Wonder Woman tee’s // Wonder Woman backpack // Girl’s Biker Shorts // Women’s biker shorts // Similar tank

The kids are headed BACK TO SCHOOL and with that comes my nemesis, school lunches.  To simplify our busy schedules, I’m sharing a school lunch grocery list and some creative lunch ideas that don’t require utensils and are quick for you to piece together.  Oh and did I mention the kids love it.  I would love to hear some of your ideas, so leave me a comment.

I know getting back to school is daunting for both kids and parents, so please bookmark this post for your next shopping trip.  I’ve linked all these items to Walmart as well, because they have great healthy selections, low prices and some items can be delivered next day.  I’m all about less trips in the car, so this is a huge quality of life win.

Here’s what I look for when buying school lunch items.  Finger foods are great because we save plastic utensils.  As a rule of thumb, provide a protein to fill their bellies during the day, add fresh vegetables with hummus or ranch dressing and lastly dried fruit for dessert.  I’ve learned the hard way to not pack nuts.  Many schools do not allow nuts on campus so don’t waste them and keep them at home.  I also try to avoid filling the kids up with breads so here is a great idea for deli meat.  Take slices of ham and or turkey and roll it.  Then take the bamboo stick and make a kabob.  In between the deli meat add vegetables like cucumber, tomato, pickles or whatever else your kids like.  Think of it like a salad on a stick.  The best part, no dirty dishes for the kids to bring home.  Win, win!

I love expressing my creative side with school lunches and giving the kids something fun and healthy to eat during their school day.  Here’s a shopping list you can copy for your next trip to Walmart! Or use the links below and buy online, taking advantage of their amazing next day shipping (I’ve taken advantage of MANY TIMES) for qualifying items. Before I purchase, I always check the reviews and if the item qualifies for Next Day shipping. Time is a hot commodity as a mom of 5, so if it can arrive ASAP, things run a little smoother.

Do you have a favorite lunch as a kid? share it below!

School Lunches Shopping list:

1)  Deli Meat (Turkey or Ham) Turkey Jerky is good too.

2)  Fresh Vegetables (Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Carrots, Cauliflower, Broccoli)

3)  Fresh Fruit (Grapes, Apple Slices, Peaches, Mango, Strawberries)

4)  Dried Fruit (Coconut Chips, Dried anything)

5)  Lunch container

Thank you Walmart for sponsoring this post!

Marriage, Marriage lessons
Marriage, Marriage lessons
Reid and I sat down and answered some of your questions I frequently get asked about. Like how long we’ve been married (13 years in march), where we met (Chicago), if we fight (haha) and what makes a good relationship tick. I thought these questions deserved more than an instagram post or IG stories answer, but a full on blog post. This blog post will be one of 2 posts. So welcome to the marriage series. I love this subject! Read on.

Key message:
1)     Marriage is a joy.
2)     Marriage is work.
3)     Marriage is intimate.

When I went to college there was a saying, “ring by spring”.  Do you know what kind of pressure that put on me?  While my girlfriends were all getting rings before graduation, I was yet to even go out on a date.  But not dating was my decision.  I was guarding my heart for the one man who deserved it.  I didn’t know who he was at the time, but I knew the kind of person he would be.  Here’s the man I was looking for and let me remind you that it is about the inside and whether he’s pleasant to look at  is just the icing on the cake.

A gentle spirit.  Yes!  So many people in our culture praise those men who are Type ‘A’ males.  Competitive winners, aggressive, loud, confident.  But for me, I find the man who has a gentle spirit is a man who will be loyal to you, a husband / father who is present and will compromise with you through life’s arguments (decisions).  Truth be known, even a gentle man has opinions…so don’t walk all over him.  Instead appreciate his prudence.

 A man who works hard.  You can tell when a man is a hard worker.  First, observe who he is among his friends.  Does he open the door for you?  Does he go out of his way to open the door for you?  Watch him around his friends.  Does he help his friends move into a new place?  Is he lifting things…or telling people what to do?  I prefer the guy taking action and not the guy bossing people around.

Why is character important?  His character will last throughout his life.  Not his blond hair and muscles.  So choose wisely girlfriends!  Be prudent and most importantly, guard your heart.  The man you are to call husband is out there. I know, because I waited and eventually I found him. 

Check out this blogpost on how we met.

More marriage advice coming up in the near future, so sign up for my newsletter and let’s stay in touch.  I want to hear your comments and what you are looking for in a relationship

What do you think? As always, my shop page is open 24/7, my Amazon page is here, and let me know your questions below!

Aquatica – Seaworld             

When I was a kid, the water park I had access to was about seven multi colored waterslides.  Each color was a different level of rush!  I thought that was so cool.  Now that we experienced Aquatica, I’m like….wow, my kids are lucky.  We were getting a little board of the pool and the beach is great, but so much work.  You know what I mean.  All the stuff we have to lug along, dragging the stroller through the sand, taking a boat load of sand home and finding it all over the bed sheets the next morning.  A day at the beach takes a week to recover.

Last weekend, we had the opportunity to take the family to Aquatica in San Diego.  We made sure to get there right when they opened.  The gates open at 9:30am and the rides open at 10:00am, giving you some time to designate your lounge chair territory.  The park had plenty to do for all ages.  They have a splash area designated for toddlers and a massive water playground perfect for my age kids.  Lots of lifeguards keeping watch as well which gave me some comfort.  Then there’s the big daddy slides, like the giant water slides and my kid’s favorite the Tassie’s Twister.  Voted by my kids as their favorite. 

Here are 5 tips for planning your day at Aquatica:

1)    Pack Sunscreen, Beach Towels and Water Shoes (Great for walking between rides)

2)    Arrive at the park at 9:30am

3)    Designate a meeting place with your family in case you get separated.

4)    The Quick Que was an added bonus to our day.  Great way to cut down on line time.  You can practice patience another day.

5)    Put your kids in brightly colored swim suits so it’s easier to find them.

Thank you Sea World Aquatica for sponsoring this post

chucks under $20

These couple weeks my 4th has been struggling getting his shoes on, not finding them and just overall freaking out when I utter the words, “time to go, get your shoes on!” I’ve since purchased him two pairs of new shoes. One were cute olive green velcro pair and the other, Converse chucks my husband picked up from the NSALE. I was pleasantly surprised. As for the Converse chucks, he was able to get on in 30 seconds and out the door. This alleviates a lot of stress in our house. To say the least. There is still a lot available on the NSALE! See below and don’t forget to enter my $100 gift card giveaway on instagram!

denim // sandals // tee under $20 amazon prime// Chloe bag in medium // similar turquoise ring

my jeans (size up imo) // white bodysuit

girls girlfriend jeans // girls gray waffle knit top // girls lace detail white top //

boys dark straight leg jeans // boys distressed denim // boys long sleeve in “grey check” // boys short sleeve (the fit I found was true to size for jeans and tops)

Me and the kids recently partnered with Abercrombie Kids highlighting their new denim for fall. I mean how cute are my lil models? I love that there is SO much variety in the denim styles and washes at Abercrombie Kids. I believe each of my kids has a style and I tried my best to “style” them according their own style. It’s always good to encourage individuality. We can’t wait to see what Levi’s style will be!

Good news, their jeans are 50% off right now! Stock up for fall.

Enjoy your cuties now, whether it be your nieces or nephews, sons or daughters, for the days are long but the years are short.

Happy Sunday!

I’ve gotten SO many compliments about these sandals for thirteen dollars! I’ve worn them everywhere from the Huntington gardens to Sea World. A mom needs a lightweight go-to sandal and I couldn’t resist the cute pink color. I liked them so much so that I purchased a pair for my daughter. They also come in size 5, and I love twinning with her!

Walmart has some great buys. I’m also crushing on their leopard selection! Remember, if your order is over $35, and is a qualified order, you’ll receive free two-day shipping, no membership required. See more options below!

Also, some favorite beauty buys like this mascara and lip gloss:

$13 sandals // jeans topshop similar // top fp // her top similar //

We are in the heat of the soccer camp season and the kids are loving it. While I’m not enjoying the commute, I tell myself these seasons are going very fast. I’m grateful for each moment! How’s your week going?

Thank you Walmart for sponsoring this post!

  1. satin lined lovie 2. organic moses basket 3. organic sleeping pad and crib sheet 4. classic crib 5. car seat 6. onesies 7. organic cotton pajamas 8. llamà 9. little jumper (Levi loves this!)

There’s nothing more daunting than registering for a baby registry. It can be beyond overwhelming walking into a baby store with 10-20 options for everything from blankies to binkies. I’m stressed just thinking about it. Enter Walmart.com with their awesome baby registry and Next Day Shipping options on most item marked. (5 orders in, I’m a believer!) Have you checked it out? I included some of my favorites below that I’ve used and loved for Levi. Walmart makes it easy. Because when you’re planning for a baby, you need all the help you can get.

Happy weekend!

Thank you Walmart for sponsoring this post!

straw hat // his suspenders // my sunnies // my sandals (only $35!)

Funny how whenever the flight attendants see us board a plane their first comment is, “Are these all your kids…. That’s a lot of work!”  Well, it’s true, traveling with 5 kids under 11 is no walk in the park, but traveling is worth every bit of hassle.  I’m thankful for the travel opportunities we have had this past year and what better way to close out the school year with a trip to Mexico on the Baja Peninsula.  We put all those Spanish classes to practice!  Kind of.

We flew to San Cabos San Lucas for a 5 night stay at the brand new Nobu Hotel.  Nobu is a chic celebrity sushi restaurant in LA (one of the owners is Robert De Niro).  They are now opening resorts all over the world so you can enjoy the fine Japanese cuisine and style all over the world.  The Nobu Hotel Cabo San Lucas is located 45 minutes from the SJC airport.  You can book an airport transfer through the resort as we did.

You will be in awe of the experience as you drive up to the front lobby.  The architecture is sleek and sophisticated as well as the service.  Upon arrival, the staff warmly greeted us with moist towels to freshen our faces from, juice boxes for the kids and a ginger cocktail for Reid and I.  Exactly what we needed to decompress after the stress of flying.

The resort opened in April 2019 and designed to immerse Japanese design with Mexican hospitality.  Ocean views and Zen gardens are everywhere.  The property includes three pools, many hot tubs, private cabanas and a swim up bar. The Cabanas have private bathrooms and showers and was a great place for the kids to nap in the shade.  It was like an extension of our hotel room.  Reserve your complimentary Cabana with your personal butler upon arrival.

For our family of 7, hotel rooms that accommodate all of us are rare.  Fortunately, Nobu offers a variety of suites.  We stayed in the Zen Suite with an adjoining room.  We had a living room, eating area, king size bed with incredible bathroom and another adjoining queen bed room for the kids.  All rooms have darkening drapes so the kids always slept till 7:30am which made for nice quiet mornings.  Comment below on this bathroom dream!

We spent every day at the pool.  The resort is beach front but the ocean is not swimmable.  You can hear the power of the waves crashing throughout the day.  Besides the pool, the kids loved going to the Kids Club.  They did face painting, movie nights, crafts and games for the kids from 7am – 10pm.  You drop your kids off and pick them up whenever you want.  Can you say date night?  Even better….ocean view sunset date night at Nobu! 

The resort offers fine dining at Nobu and Malibu Farms.  Feels like we are home in Los Angeles!  The food was fresh and delicious.  We recommend getting an all-inclusive package offered on Nobu website upon making your reservations. 

Also keep this on the DL, but the fitness center provides iced chlorophyll water that we loved. I won’t lie, it is the best and most refreshing beverage after a day in the sun. Also a favorite was the dark chocolate they left at turndown service. I would call for turndown service just to feed my chocolate addiction. All in all, a great family getaway. Next time, we will explore the town!

Tip#1: If you’re flying with children, check the stroller at the gate.

Tip #2: Bring instant oatmeal packets. My kids wake up at the crack of dawn on vacation and I’m not taking them to breakfast at 5am!

Tip #3 Buy your girls shorts in the boys section. You get 3 more inches, and they have good washes and distressing.

Tip #4 Lower your expectations. Or let go of any you may have. Like parenting at home, some days are totally unpredictable. Go with the flow and you’ll enjoy your vacation more.

Tip#5 If you’re traveling with an infant (Levi is 8 mos old) nurse him/her at take off and landing to alleviate any ear pain or pressure. If your baby is older, bring something to chew on. I bought him a play iphone but he really just loved the chew beads and melt in your mouth snacks.

Tip #6: Don’t forget your face mask for the flight. Even if I don’t have time (holding a baby the whole time) I will apply a face mask on my neck for refreshment. I also bring my NuFace mini and do a mini eye lift.T

Tip #7: The sun is stronger than you know. Pack sun hats and sunscreen. I use Unseen sunscreen as a makeup primer so I NEVER forget to put it on.